Skip to content
GO TO bet365 Sports
  1. Football

Cristiano Ronaldo career landmark: Portugal star celebrates 1,200th senior appearance

Cristiano Ronaldo reached another milestone in his extraordinary career on Friday when he made his 1,200th senior appearance.

Predictably enough, the prolific Portugal legend celebrated the landmark with a goal in Al-Nassr's 4-1 victory over Al-Riyadh in the Saudi Pro League.

After the match, Ronaldo wrote on social media that "we're not done yet" and the 38-year-old now has Peter Shilton's appearance record of 1,387 in his sights.

Ronaldo a record-breaker for club and country

Cristiano Ronaldo made his senior debut for Sporting in September 2002 when he was just 17 years old and he is still going strong more than two decades later.

Ronaldo is the leading goalscorer in this season's Saudi Pro League, finding the net 16 times in 15 matches, and he remains a key player for Portugal, who are 8/1 to win Euro 2024 next summer.

The winger made only 31 appearances for Sporting before Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson snapped him up in the summer of 2003.

He played for the Red Devils on 346 occasions during two spells at Old Trafford but developed into a true global superstar at Real Madrid, making 438 appearances between 2009 and 2018.

Ronaldo then spent three years at Italian giants Juventus, for whom he played his 1,000th career game in February 2020, scoring the opening goal in a 2-1 Serie A win away to SPAL.

He was released by Manchester United in the autumn of 2022 and joined Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, where he has scored 30 goals in 31 league appearances.

Ronaldo's longevity has also helped him break numerous records at international level. He has won 205 senior caps and scored 128 goals for Portugal – both records in men's international football – and he will be aiming to score at his 12th major tournament if he lines up at next year's Euros.

The forward is up to fourth on the list of players with the most professional appearances in history and the other five men in the top six are all goalkeepers.

Ronaldo has already eclipsed Barcelona midfielder Xavi, Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos and Argentina and Inter Milan right-back Javier Zanetti, who all made more than 1,000 professional appearances as outfield players.

His great rival Lionel Messi reached that mark at last year's World Cup, scoring in Argentina's 2-1 win over Australia in the last 16 on his way to lifting the trophy with the Albiceleste.

Goalkeeper Shilton holding on to England caps record

Ronaldo's appetite for football shows no sign of diminishing and he has always been renowned as one of the fittest players of his generation.

Whether he can maintain his standards and avoid injury for long enough to break Peter Shilton's record remains to be seen, though, as the legendary England goalkeeper played 1,387 times in a career that lasted from 1965 to 1997.

Shilton made 349 appearances for his first club Leicester, also passing the 200-game mark for Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Derby.

He remains England's record appearance-maker, winning 125 caps between 1970 and 1990, when he was part of the team who lost on penalties to West Germany in the World Cup semi-finals.

Wayne Rooney (120), David Beckham (115) and Steven Gerrard (114) have fallen short of Shilton's England record although Harry Kane, already the Three Lions' highest goalscorer of all time, has won 89 caps at the age of 30.

However, Shilton remains well clear at the top of the all-time professional appearance list with Fluminense goalkeeper Fabio his closest challenger.

Coventry stalwart Hutchison eventually eclipsed by Ronaldo

Brazilian keeper Fabio's tally of career appearances is hard to nail down exactly but he made his senior debut in 1997 and is still playing at the age of 43.

He made more than 950 appearances during a 17-year career with Cruzeiro, winning the Serie A title in 2013 and 2014, and is now the first-choice custodian for Fluminense.

An Under-17 World Cup winner with Brazil in 1997, Fabio never made an appearance for the senior team despite being included in several squads.

The only other man to have played in more games than Ronaldo is Boston United stalwart Paul Bastock, who has made almost 1,300 appearances in the lower leagues of English football.

Bastock came through the youth system at Coventry, where another of the world's longest-serving footballers also played.

Before Ronaldo, Scotland international Tommy Hutchison held the record for the most career appearances by an outfield player.

Hutchison's career spanned nearly 30 years from his debut for Alloa Athletic in 1965 to appearances for Swansea City and Merthyr Tydfil in the 1990s.

The midfielder was capped 17 times by Scotland between 1973 and 1975 and played 355 games for Coventry.

However, Hutchison is perhaps best remembered for scoring a goal and an own goal as his Manchester City side drew 1-1 with Tottenham in the 1981 FA Cup final, leading to the famous replay in which Ricky Villa scored a dazzling winner for Spurs.

Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.


Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets Join Now

Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.