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Cristiano Ronaldo becomes player with most games in 21st century, Messi at no 4

Cristiano Ronaldo, the maestro of football dominance, has authored yet another chapter, solidifying his status as the player with the most games in the 21st century.

However, the tale is not just about Ronaldo’s triumph; it’s equally the story of Lionel Messi, who narrowly missed securing a podium position in this prestigious record.

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) recently unveiled the list of players with the most appearances in the 21st century, with Ronaldo seizing the top spot with an impressive 1204 official appearances.

This illustrious journey spans across renowned clubs like Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Al-Nassr, and the Portugal National Team. At 38, Ronaldo’s enduring dedication is evident, maintaining an astonishing average of 52 matches per year for an unprecedented 22 consecutive years.

In contrast, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s perennial rival in the quest for supremacy, finds himself in the fourth position on the list, accumulating 1,047 matches with jerseys from Barcelona, PSG, Inter Miami, and the Argentine National Team.

The top three positions on the list feature Brazilian goalkeeper Fabio (1,156 matches) and former Barcelona right-back Dani Alves (1,056 games). Notably, only four players have surpassed the 1000-game mark, while 21 players boast over 900 games, including 17 currently active players.

Top 10 players with most matches in 21st century

2. Fábio (Brazil) – 1156

3. Dani Alves (Brazil) – 1056

4. Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 1047

5. Luka Modrić (Croatia) – 1010

6. João Moutinho (Portugal) – 997

7. Iker Casillas (Spain) – 974

8. Sergio Ramos (Spain) – 974

9. Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden) – 953

10. Andrés Iniesta (Spain) – 949

While Ronaldo leads the 21st-century appearances, he remains within striking distance of the record held by Rogerio Ceni, who boasts 1,225 matches. With Ronaldo only 21 appearances away from this historic milestone, the ongoing season holds the promise of more records being etched into the football history books, perpetuating the exhilarating battle for supremacy in the 21st century.