Which Player Has The Most Records In Football History

Almost half of the world’s population are fans of the popular sport of football. It’s no news that it is the most popular sport in the world. Records are one of the most talked about aspects of the game, and football fans talk about WHO has done WHAT, how many times they did it and WHEN? This brings us to the question, which player has the most records in football history?

When talking about records in football, there is a need to specify the league, the competition, or the category. There are records peculiar to different competitions, such as the world cup, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, UEFA Europa League, La Liga, and so on. Different players worldwide set individual records; there are records about goals, assists, yellow and red cards, appearances, and so on. 

Taking these records one after the other will make it easier to decide who has which record most. Keep reading;

Which Player Has The Most Appearances In Football History?

Appearance in football has to do with consistency, and when a player is consistent, they get to be available for their club or country to set and break crucial records and achieve success. Players like Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo are consistent, which is why they have achieved all those successes. Below are 10 players with the most appearances in football history;

Peter Shilton – 1375

Shilton’s career lasted for 30 years, and he played for eleven clubs. He is the first football player to make over 1000 appearances for five clubs. The peak of Shilton’s football career was when he played with Northam Forest. While with the team, he won the First Division Title, two European Cups, a UEFA Super Cup and the Football League Cup.

Peter played for England’s national team 123 times and participated in the FIFA World Cup with England in 1982 and 1986. Also, Shilton is the most capped player in the England national team.

Paul Bastock – 1286

Paul is the next on the list and the second player with the most appearances in football history. He has played 1286 matches, including league matches and cup competitions, mainly in the English Lower Divisions. Bastock made his debut in 1988 and has played for 20 clubs, including  Cambridge United, Boston United, Rushden & Diamonds, and St Albans City.

He only had one appearance for his national team, which was in a friendly match against a Highland League Selection. 

Rogerio Ceni – 1237

The great Rogerio, one of the most outstanding goalkeepers football has ever seen, the Brazilian has 131 goals and was honored and recognised by the International Federation Of Football History & Statistics as the stopper with the highest number of goals in football history. Ceni is the definition of consistency in football; he has 1237 appearances. 

Ceni’s football career lasted 25 years, and he played for Sao Paulo, where he won 20 major trophies. Rogerio represented Brazil 18 times, and most of his goals were from penalties and free kicks, with just one coming from open play. 

Fabio – 1212

Most football fans don’t know about Fabio because he has never played in Europe; he plays in the Brazilian League and is still active. Fabio represented Cruzeiro 789 times and has capped the club more than any other player in the club’s history. Fabio now plays for Fluminense and has never represented the Brazilian senior national team despite playing in the local leagues for a long time. 

Frantisek Planicka – 1186

Planicka was one of the best and most consistent goalkeepers during the 90s; the  Czechoslovak superstar played for Slavia Praha most of his club career and had 969 appearances for the club. However, Frantisek’s club career was not just limited to playing for Slavia Praha. He went on to play for other football clubs. He remains Czechslovak’s most decorated footballer of all time.

Frantisek represented his national team 73 times and had one of the most historical moments in a world cup match where he was injured but kept playing. 

 Tommy Hutchison – 1177

Tommy played in the midfield for several clubs and was available for selection whenever his club needed him; he was reliable. He was a Coventry City legend and played for the club 983 times, winning every major trophy with them. Hutchison played for Scotland for the first time in 1973; he retired in 1975 and became the player with the most appearances for his club and country. 

Ray Clemence – 1164

Ray was a Liverpool legend and one of the 31 players to have more than 1000 appearances in all competitions. He is one of the goalkeepers with the most clean sheets, having kept 460, and he played for Liverpool, Tottenham, and Scunthorpe United. Clemence had 758 appearances for the three clubs and won every trophy available, including the FA Cup, Premier League and UEFA Cup.

Clemence also had 61 appearances for his national team. 

Cristiano Ronaldo – 1147

Apart from Lionel Messi, no current football player can keep up with CR7’s consistency; he is one of the most reliable footballers in recent times, even at age 38. Cristiano’s club career started at Sporting Lisbon; then he moved to Manchester United and made his debut for the team at age 18. He won every possible trophy with the Manchester side before he moved to Real Madrid in 2009, and the rest, they say, is history. 

CR7 represented Man United 342 times; he had 437 appearances for Real Madrid and won every trophy with the Madrid giants. Ronaldo also moved to Juventus, returned to Manchester United for another spell and is presently playing for Al Nasar, which means he can also move to the top 5 very soon. 

Gianluigi Buffon – 1135

As a goalkeeper, Buffon’s longevity and consistency for club and country are unmatched. He played until he was 40, won every possible trophy with club and country, and played at the highest level until he retired. Buffon played his first game with Parma in 1995; he later moved to Juventus, where he had 656 appearances while winning every title in the Italian league and the Player Of The Year Award.

Buffon also played for PSG and won a couple of trophies with them before he retired. He never won a UEFA Champions League, losing to Real Madrid and Barcelona in two of the tournament’s finals. Buffon was also no stranger to making appearances for his country, Italy. He made a total of 177 appearances for the Italian national team- a record that places him as the most capped Italian national team player of all time. He also won the World Cup alongside his team in 2006. 

Xavi Hernandez – 1100

One of the best midfielders to ever play the sport, he formed a great partnership with Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. Xavi was instrumental to the success of the Catalan giants under the coaching of Pep Guardiola during Barcelona’s glory days. Another thing that described Xavi was his consistency for club and country. His contribution to Spain’s dominance in the international phase between 2008 to 2012 can not be under-emphasized.

Xavi’s first appearance for Barcelona was in 1998. Ever since then, the talented player joined the team to win several trophies including La Liga cups, Copa Del Reys and other domestic cups with Barcelona. He also won three Champions League titles with the Catalan side. For country, he won two European Cups and a world cup trophy. Xavi made 767 appearances for Barcelona, making him the second most capped player in the club’s history. He also appeared 117 times for Al Sadd and 133 for his national team. 

Xavi has come second in the Ballon d’Or ranking behind his Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi and has won numerous individual awards.

Some other active players will later enter this list; for instance, Lionel Messi made his 1000th career appearance against Australia in the 2022 world cup, and it does not look like he will retire soon. 

Football is a team sport, but some players have made themselves so prominent that everyone talks about them. They are consistent and have set and broken several records. A popular example is Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi; they are one of the most consistent players in the history of football, and they have been playing at the highest level for more than 12 years now. The question now is, who has the most records between both of them?

Also Read: List of all captains in Indian Football Team’s history

Who Has The Most Records, Messi Or Ronaldo?

Who Has The Most Records, Messi Or Ronaldo

Ronaldo and Messi are generational talents, and it will take a while to witness a duo that will give so much dedication, consistency and professionalism to the game as they both did. When they were both in Spain, the El Clasico was a fixture most football fans looked forward to because they expected that CR7 and LM1O would thrill them.

The debate about who is better or who has the most records between both has been going on for a while now and does not look like it will ever end; however, with Messi winning the world cup, some football fans believe the debate is over. Before going into statistics, you should note that even FIFA thinks the debate is over, as Messi has helped Argentina win its third world cup.

FIFA tweeted from its official handle after the 2022 world cup final, saying, “The GOAT debate is settled. The ultimate prize is now part of the collection. The legacy is complete,” This tweet was later deleted, but Budweiser, an official sponsor of the tournament, shared a version of it later. Both players have won numerous trophies, but Messi has done what Ronaldo could not.

The only trophy missing from their cabinet is the World Cup, and now Messi has it striking a big difference. Statistics, however, make the debate clearer but more intense.

Let’s dive right into it.

Club Achievements 

At the UEFA Champions League level, Ronaldo has won the competition record five times while Messi has won it four times; CR7 has 141 goals in the tournament (the highest), while Messi has 125. Messi has won 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa Del Ray, 3 FIFA Club World Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups and a record 6 European golden boot awards for the most goals scored in a calendar year. 

Messi moved to Paris Saint Germain in 2021 and has won the League 1 title and the French Super Cup. CR7, on the other hand, has won 7 league titles in La Liga, Premier League and Serie A. He is the first footballer to win league titles in 3 different clubs. Ronaldo has won 5 UCL trophies, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 4 FIFA Club World Cups, 1 FA Cup and 1 Italian Cup. 

He has also won the Copa Del Rey, the Carling Cup, the English community shield and the Spanish Super Cup. Ronaldo has won 4 European Golden boots, once with Manchester United and thrice with Real Madrid. When talking about the biggest individual award – The Ballon d’Or- Messi has 7 while Ronaldo has 5. 

International Level

Ronaldo took an early lead in the GOAT debate when he led Portugal to the European Cup victory in 2016; at that time, Messi had not won anything with the Argentine senior team. Later in 2019, Ronaldo added the Uefa Nations League title to his international achievements, further increasing the gap between him and his arch-rival.

Messi won his first trophy with Argentina in 2021 after leading his national team to Copa America glory; it was the first title for the team in 28 years. Messi won every individual award in that tournament, silencing his critiques. Messi added the 2022 Finalisima trophy to his international trophy as they defeated Italy 3-0 at Wembley Stadium.

The 2022 world cup was where Messi made the statement, a tournament he won and set several records.

On the other hand, Ronaldo crashed out of the tournament in the Quarterfinals through a defeat to a motivated Morocco. Messi, in that tournament, became the first footballer to win 5 Man Of The Match awards in a single men’s tournament and the first to have 10 in the history of that competition.

Messi won the Golden Ball prize in the 2022 showpiece, becoming the first player to win the award twice after winning it in the 2014 edition when Argentina lost to Germany in the final. Ronaldo has never won any major prize in that tournament, and Messi also won the Olympic Gold Medal with Argentina in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

Major Individual Awards

As mentioned earlier, Messi has 7 Ballon d’Or while Ronaldo has 5. Ronaldo has won the Puskas Award, but Messi has not, after several nominations. 


Goals are important determinants of a player’s effectiveness as a striker or attacker. Ronaldo and Messi have more than 1500 goals, and they are two of the most prolific forwards in the game’s history. Messi has the highest goal for Argentina in the world cup with 13 goals, including the 7 he scored in the last edition. Messi is also the player with the most appearances in men’s world cup history, with 26 appearances. 

Messi has scored 98 goals for Argentina and is the South American with the most goals in history. Lionel scored 474 goals for Barcelona and is the player with the highest goal in La Liga history; he has scored more than 793 goals for clubs and country in more than 1000 appearances. Also, Messi has 350 assists.

On the other hand, Ronaldo is the highest goal scorer across all competitions for men; he is the highest goal scorer at the international level for men, having scored 118 goals for Portugal. CR7 is the highest goal scorer in the history of Real Madrid after scoring 450 goals for Los Blancos and the highest goal scorer in the UCL with 140 goals. Lionel Messi is also in the Guiness book of world records for setting the record as the player with the highest number of goals in a calendar year in 2012. In comparison, Ronaldo’s highest in a calendar year is 69. Messi is ahead of Ronaldo in terms of assists; he has more passes and can dribble better than his Portuguese rival. 

Ronaldo has scored more penalties than Messi; the Portuguese have an 83% penalty conversion rate, while Messi has 78%. CR7 has scored 146 penalties, losing 29, while Messi has scored 108, missing 31. The table below presents more details

Most hattrick in Champions league history (8) shared with Messi.Fastest player to reach 100 goals in the UEFA Champions League (123 games)
The only player to score in every group stage match in the Champions League history (2017/2018).Youngest player to represent a club 100 times in the UEFA Champions League.
The only player to score 15 or more goals in a Champions League campaign (2013,2015,2017).Most goals for a single club in Europe’s top 5 leagues (640 goals).
He has the most UEFA best player awards (3).Fastest player to reach 300 goals in Europe top 5 leagues.
He is the player with the most Champions League top scorer award (7)Most hat tricks in UEFA Champions  League history (8), shared with Ronaldo.
The only player to be the Champions League top scorer in 6 consecutive seasons.Most hat tricks in the group stage in a single Champions League campaign (2 hat tricks – shared with Ronaldo)
Most goals scored against a single opponent in UEFA Champions League history (Juventus).Highest goals in Champions League match – 5
Only player to score back-to-back hat tricks in a UEFA Champions League knockout stage(Against Atletico and Bayern in 2017).Highest scorer in the UEFA Super cup – 3
First player to score 100 goals in the UEFA Champions League History.Most free-kick goals in the UEFA Super cup (2)
Only player to score in 3 club world cups – 2008, 2016, 2017.Youngest player to be the Uefa Champions league’s highest goal scorer. (At the age of 21)
Only player to win the Club World Cup Golden Ball twice. First player to score 5 goals in a single champions league game.
Most international goals in a year – 32 goalsFirst player to score in 23 different cities in the European cups.
The only player to score a hattrick in the Club World Cup Final.Youngest and first player to win 5 Ballon d‘Or.
The first player to score in every minute of a matchFirst player to score consecutively against all teams in a professional league.

Other Records By Other Players

Top players besides Ronaldo and Messi set other top records. Get the details in the table below:

Most decorated playerDani AlvesBrazil2001 – present43 major titles.
Goalkeeper with most penalty saveLev YashinRussia1950-1970He saved more than 150 penalties for Dynamo Moscow and Russia.
Highest clean sheetsLev YashinRussia1949 – 1971He kept 270 clean sheets.
Most consecutive matches without conceding a goalMazaropiBrazil1977-1978He went 1816 minutes without conceding a goal.
The player with the most red cardsGerardo BedoyaColombia1995-201546 red cards.
Most own-goal in a matchStan Van Den BuysBelgium1995He scored 3 own goals in a match.
Meikayla Moore New Zealand2022He also scored 3 own goals in a match.
The player who scored a goal from the longest distanceTom KingWales2021Tom is a goalkeeper; he scored from his six-yard box, 96.01 distance, in a match against Cheltenham Town.

Tom is a goalkeeper; he scored from his six-yard box, 96.01 distance, in a match against Cheltenham Town.


Records are essential aspects of football; they make the sport more competitive and give fans many things to discuss. The players with the most records in football history are Ronaldo and Messi, but there are other records set by other players, too, as listed above.  

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