Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 123rd international goal on his 200th appearance for Portugal AFP / Halldor KOLBEINS

Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has received a Guinness World Record certificate for being the male football player with the most caps for his national team. The Al-Nassr forward completed 200 international appearances for Portugal when he led the team to a 1-0 victory against Iceland on Tuesday night during the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers.

Ronaldo received a plaque from representatives of Guinness World Records just before kick-off, and the turnover took place right on the pitch at the Laugardalsvöllur national stadium in Iceland.

The honour is the latest among many records that the prolific forward has broken. At 38 years old, Ronaldo has been capped 200 times so far. However, he is expected to extend that record even further, perhaps all the way until Euro 2024 and beyond. Portugal currently tops Group J, with a high chance of qualifying for the final tournament next summer.

Kuwait international Bader Al-Mutawa previously held the record for most international appearances with 196. That record was matched by Ronaldo during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and later surpassed during the Euro 2024 Qualifiers.

Al-Mutawa is also 38 years old, but is also still active and playing for Qadsia SC. His last international appearance came in 2022, and it remains to be seen if he will be called up again and be able to add to his tally.

Speaking about his record, Ronaldo said: "For me it is an extremely important milestone. It means a lot. [Two hundred] is a beautiful number that [no men's player] has. I'm very proud because this is something I never thought I could reach. And I'm continuing to set records."

Ronaldo makes it a memorable evening

Apart from marking his 200th cap for Portugal, Ronaldo proved exactly how influential he continues to be by scoring the late winner against Iceland. Both sides failed to make a breakthrough for most of the match, but Ronaldo just had to find the winning goal at the 89th minute.

The goal celebrations were momentarily interrupted by a VAR review after it was initially called offside. After a few moments, the goal was given and Ronaldo was able to continue celebrating with his teammates.

It was a late heartbreak for Iceland, who hung on to the very end but failed to stop the Portugal captain especially after Willum Thor Willumson was shown a red card. Portugal then overwhelmed the Icelandic defence, allowing Goncalo Inacio to head the ball towards his skipper, who then beat the keeper to fire a rocket into the net.

Incidentally, apart from having the most appearances for Portugal, Ronaldo is also their all-time top scorer with 123 goals and counting.

His longevity on both the club and international stage while playing top flight football is something that has raised the bar for footballers all over the world. In the past, players typically retired soon after turning 30 years old, but it has now become more common for players to stay on the top level while pushing 40.

Ronaldo made his senior debut two decades ago in August 2003 against Kazakhstan. He has appeared and scored for Portugal in five World Cups since then, and it was a heartbreaking moment in Qatar last year when he admitted that it seems like his dream of lifting the World Cup is over after they were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Morocco.

Nevertheless, Ronaldo has tasted massive success with the national team. As captain, he led his countrymen to the European Championship title in 2016. They also won the Nations League trophy in 2019. He also holds the record for most international hat-tricks, having achieved the feat ten times.

His achievements on the club level are also extraordinary, having won the UEFA Champions League five times. He also won numerous titles with clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Sporting Lisbon. He is also a five-time Ballon d'Or winner among many other individual awards.