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Most European Championship Appearances

  • Cristiano Ronaldo has already played in 21 European Championship games
  • This will be his fifth tournament, Portugal are the defending champions
  • Germany have appeared in the most, 13 tournaments so far
most European Championship appearances
Image via Flickr

Euro2020 will start next week, on the 11th of June with the participation of 24 teams. Some players will play in their first big tournament while others have already taken part in a few before. Cristiano Ronaldo has the most European Championship appearances with 21, and it seems like his record won’t be beaten any time soon. Germany has the most appearances from the national teams, let’s see other members of the list. 

The first European Championship was held in 1960 so last year would have been the 50th anniversary tournament. Euro2020 was postponed to this year, but fans can finally see their teams playing for the trophy. Portugal are the defending champions and one of the top favorites again. They still have one of the best players of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo in their squad, who will play in his fifth tournament. With his latest appearance Ronaldo will equal the record of Iker Casillas, who was in the Spanish squad on five occasions. Even though he hasn’t played in his first and last Euros. While Germany took part in the most European Championship games ahead of other top football countries.

Cristiano Ronaldo has the most European Championship appearances

most European Championship appearances
Ronaldo – Анна Нэсси, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

The captain of the Portuguese team has already made 21 appearances in his four previous European Championships. And now Ronaldo can even increase his lead in the list of the most European Championship appearances. With at least three if he plays in all group matches against France, Germany and Hungary. Or with even more if Portugal can repeat their performance from four years ago. When the team went all the way to the final and defeated France to win the trophy. Their team is mentioned in the top favorites this time as well by online sportsbooks in Portugal. And Ronaldo can play a key part again just like he did in all his previous appearances.

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The five-time Ballon d’Or winner made his first appearance in the Euros back in 2004 when he was only 18. He already scored three goals then and was selected in the team of the tournament. His performance wasn’t as remarkable in 2008, when he only scored one goal. Ronaldo had a better tournament four years later after scoring goals against the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. But he had to wait four more years to reach the top of Europe. In France he scored three goals again and led the team to the final. Unfortunately he had to be substituted in the 25th minute but he could still lift the trophy at the end of the game.

Other players with multiple appearances

Bastian Schweinsteiger got the second most, 18 appearances after playing four European Championships between 2004 and 2016. The German midfielder had his best performance in 2008 when he scored two goals. And was a key member in the team which finished as a runner-up. Schweinsteiger retired from international football in 2016 and won’t be able to catch Ronaldo. Neither Gianluigi Buffon, who is currently in third place with 17 appearances. The legendary Italian goalkeeper also played in four European tournaments and was the runner-up in 2012. Even though he was still playing for Juventus this season, Buffon has already retired from international football in 2018.

most European Championship appearances
Bastian Schweinsteiger – Matt Janzer from Missoula, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From the still active players Sergio Ramos has the most, 15 appearances, but he won’t be playing in the Spanish team this time. Unlike another veteran player, Pepe who has been selected to the Portuguese squad. Which means he can overtake Ramos in the list and the other retired players. The 38-year-old defender is likely to start in all games in his fourth European tournament. Just like he did four years ago when he played superbly. And he was also voted as the man of the match of the final.

Germany took part in the most European Championships

If we check the same list of the national teams, we find Germany in the top with 49 appearances across 12 European Championships. Which also means they have been there in all tournaments since their first appearance in 1972.  Incredible record and thanks to their three titles they also own the record of most wins with 26. But the Nationalelf got its last win quite a long time ago, back in 1996. They were close to the victory in 2008 as well, when they finished as a runner-up behind Spain. While they reached the semi-finals in the last two tournaments. Online gambling sites in Portugal offer the odds of 8.00 for their win now, on their 13th appearance.

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Russia follows them in the list after competing in the European Championships for the 12th time. Including their participation as USSR and CIS. They won the first European Championship in 1960 when only four teams were taking part in it. But their recent history is not as successful as they usually finish  in the group stage. With the exception of 2008, when Russia reached the semi-final. Where the Spanish team beat them 3-0 to get to the final which they also won against Germany. Spain have qualified for their 11th tournament which ranks them third in the list of the countries. They already played in the second one in 1964 which they also won. Then after a 16-year break the team returned back in 1980. But Spain enjoyed their best era in 2008 and 2012, when they successfully defended their European Championship title.

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