International Veterans: 9 of the Most Capped Players Currently Playing in Europe’s Top Leagues

As the international break comes to a close, why not take a look at some of the players currently plying their trade in Europe’s top divisions who have been capped a monumental amount of times by their nation. 

Most of the players below are still active internationally, meaning they could further enhance their appearance record for their countries and cement their status as a national hero. 

9. Lionel Messi – FC Barcelona & Argentina

Caps: 122

The four time Ballon d’Or winner has amassed 122 caps for La Albiceleste since making his debut way back in 2005, and is also his country’s record scorer in that time with 61 goals.

He failed to score against Peru last Friday, but single handedly took his country to the World Cup with a scintillating hat-trick against Ecuador on Tuesday night. 

It speaks volumes of Messi’s importance to the national team that the Barcelona maestro is the only player to score a competitive goal for Argentina in the last 11 months, and the population of the south American nation will hope he can carry them just as effectively in Russia next summer. 

8. Andres Iniesta – FC Barcelona & Spain

Caps:121

The 33-year-old playmaker has been an exceptional servant for club and country since coming through La Masia, debuting for the club at just 18 and making his international debut aged 22.

Iniesta has earned 121 caps for La Furia Roja, famously scoring the World Cup winning goal against the Netherlands after extra time in 2010, but has been unable to add to his extraordinary cap tally this international break as he has been suffering with injury.  

7. Petr Cech – Arsenal & Czech Republic

Caps: 124

The Arsenal stopper is the most capped player in his country’s history with 124 appearances for the Czech Republic national team, although he announced his retirement from international football back in 2016. 

The 35-year-old has won the Czech Football of the Year award nine times and is arguably the most famous player to ever come out of his nation, whilst also winning numerous titles whilst at Chelsea and Arsenal. 

6. Wesley Sneijder – OG Nice & Holland

Caps: 132

Sneijder is one of the most famous players to ever play for the Netherlands, and currently sits on 132 caps for the senior team, scoring 31 goals for his country. 

The 33-year-old is still internationally active, and is perhaps the player with the most experience and pedigree in a youthful Dutch side having been shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award in 2010, although he failed to inspire his country to World Cup qualification. 

He is currently the record cap holder for the Netherlands, surpassing Edwin van der Sar’s record that stood for 4,002 days. 

5. Javier Mascherano – FC Barcelona & Argentina

Caps: 139 

The 33-year-old has made 139 appearances for Argentina since debuting back in 2001, scoring a grand total of three goals as his versatility saw him operate at centre back and defensive midfield for his country. 

Mascherano started last Friday night’s game against Peru, adding further to his many caps for La Albiceleste, and played a key role as Argentina beat Ecuador 3-1 to secure their place in Russia, although he surprisingly failed to add to his vast goals… 

4. Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid & Spain

Caps: 147

The Sevilla academy graduate has become one of the best defenders in history for both club and country since debuting for the Spanish side in 2004. 

Ramos has already amassed a staggering 147 caps for La Furia Roja since debuting at just 18-years-old, and at just 31 years of age he is certain to further extend that tally. 

His impressive goalscoring exploits have seen him score 11 goals for his country, whilst notching a further 72 in his club career.  

3. Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid & Portugal

Caps: 147

The 32-year-old has become his country’s all time top scorer with 79 goals, and in the process overcoming Pele to become the joint fifth top international scorer in history. 

Ronaldo led his country to EURO 2016 glory to secure his first international success, and will surely extend his record to unreachable numbers during the remainder of his career.  

2. Iker Casillas – FC Porto & Spain

Caps: 167

Spain’s all time record cap holder was a key figure in arguably his country’s golden period, holding down the number one spot over the course of La Furia Roja’s EURO 2008, World Cup 2010 and EURO 2012 successes. 

Casillas won the Golden Glove for his efforts in the 2010 World Cup tournament, and one of his saves against South Korea during the 2002 World Cup was voted in the top ten saves of all time by FIFA. 

1. Gianluigi Buffon – Juventus & Italy

Caps: 173

The Italy and Juventus legend is still active both internationally and at club level at the age of 39, and will undoubtedly make his cap record for the Italian national team unreachable when he eventually retires. 

Buffon is the second most appeared captain for Italy with 77 caps since earning the armband in 2008, and was instrumental in his country’s 2006 World Cup victory beating France in the final, setting a World Cup record in the process by keeping five clean sheet and conceding just two goals in seven games. 

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