Cristiano Ronaldo will become the most-capped men’s international footballer if he plays in Portugal’s Euro 2024 qualifying opener against Liechtenstein on Thursday. Ronaldo, 38, moved level with Kuwait forward Bader Al-Mutawa on 196 caps when he faced Morocco at the World Cup.
And he is now part of new Portugal manager Roberto Martinez’s first squad. Ronaldo – now playing in Saudi Arabia for Al Nassr – has scored a men’s record 118 international goals. There were question marks about his international future after he left the pitch in tears following Portugal’s elimination by Morocco at the quarter-final stage.
He has scored nine goals in 10 appearances for Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr after leaving Manchester United in November following a controversial interview in which he criticised the club. Martinez has said Ronaldo, who made his international debut in 2003, “is very important for the team” and “I do not look at the age”.
“Records are my motivation,” Ronaldo said on Wednesday. “I want to become the most-capped player in history. That would make me proud. “But it doesn’t stop there. I still want to be called up very often.” Kristine Lilly is the most-capped female footballer of all time, having played 354 times for the United States.