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Which Players Have Made the Most Appearances at the Euros?

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1. Cristiano Ronaldo | National Side: Portugal | Appearances: 25

Cristiano Ronaldo, who many believe to be the greatest of all time, tops the list with 25 European Championship appearances. Adding to what is already a stellar trophy cabinet, Ronaldo won the competition once in 2016.

He made his first appearance for Portugal in the Euros in 2004 which was hosted in his home country. He subsequently scored his first international goal in a 2-1 group stage loss to eventual champions Greece.

Ronaldo earned a place in the team of the tournament, helping his side reach the final with two goals and two assists. By the time Euro 2008 came, he had earned the captaincy but scored just once as Portugal were knocked out in the quarter-finals.

After a penalty shootout defeat in the semi-finals of 2012, Ronaldo finally tasted international success, as Portugal won Euro 2016. He became his nation’s most-capped player as he made his 128th appearance in the second game. They finished with three draws but progressed as one of the best third-placed teams, despite not winning a single game. Advancing all the way to the final to face hosts France, Ronaldo was forced off injured after 25 minutes. In his absence, Eder scored a 109th-minute winner with their captain supporting from the bench. He was then named into the team of the tournament for a third time.

Although Portugal could not defend their trophy in Euro 2020, Ronaldo won the Golden Boot with five goals, even with Belgium knocking them out in the round of 16.

2. Joao Moutinho | National Side: Portugal | Appearances: 19

S.C. Braga and Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho made 19 appearances across four tournaments. He was also part of the team who won in 2016.

Moutinho was first called up to Euro 2008, where he registered an assist for Raul Meireles in a 2-0 win against Turkey. This was the opening fixture of the tournament. He was an even bigger figure in 2012, as he played every single minute of every game, before their eventual semi-final loss to Spain. In that penalty shootout, the Portuguese missed his penalty as they fell 4-2.

In 2016, he appeared in six out of seven games and came off the bench in the final to provide the winning assist for Eder in extra time. Euro 2020 saw his involvement lessen, but he made an appearance in all four games, coming off the bench in the first two group games. He started the following two fixtures, including Portugal’s 1-0 round of 16 defeat to Belgium, being taken off after 55 minutes.

3. Pepe | National Side: Portugal | Appearances: 19

Pepe, who currently plays for Porto, also played in 19 games and was a crucial part of a defence who kept four clean sheets on their way to victory in 2016.

The centre-back made his international debut in 2007, in the final match of Euro 2008 qualifying. He remained in the squad for the tournament, playing in all of the games and even scoring in their 2-0 win over Turkey.

He enjoyed similar success in Euro 2012, scoring again in the group stages, this time against Denmark in a 3-2 victory. He was also a scorer in their shootout defeat to Spain. His and Portugal’s first-ever international title followed in 2016, in which he was awarded man of the match in the final against France. Pepe played in and started all four games in the delayed Euro 2020 championships, appearing alongside Ruben Dias.

4. Leonardo Bonucci | National Side: Italy | Appearances: 18

Italy centre-back Leonardo Bonucci is the highest-capped non-Portuguese in European Championships with 18 appearances across three tournaments. He made his international debut in 2010 and by 2012 was an established starter. Helped by his familiarity and relationship with Juventus teammate Giorgio Chiellini, Bonucci produced strong performances throughout as he started six of the seven games, including the final in which they lost 4-0 to Spain. They conceded just three goals before their heavy defeat.

Bonucci continued his excellent displays for Italy in 2016, setting up a goal in their opening match of the tournament against Belgium. The round of 16 game produced a rematch of the 2012 final, but this time Italy came out on top, with Bonucci named man of the match. They could not repeat their 2012 journey as they came up short against Germany in the quarter-finals, despite the defender scoring the equalising goal. He did however miss his penalty in a shootout defeat.

A European championship was finally added to Bonucci’s trophy cabinet in 2021, as Italy were victorious in the delayed Euros, beating England on penalties at Wembley Stadium. He scored his side’s only goal of the match, levelling the game. Again, he was named man of the match and included in the team of the tournament.

5. Bastian Schweinsteiger | National Side: Germany | Appearances:18

Also with 18 appearances, Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger is the only retired player to make it into the top five. He appeared in four Euros tournaments before his international retirement in 2016.

Making his full debut in 2004, Schweinsteiger took part in the U21s Euros before being immediately called up for the senior squad. He set up a goal in a group stage defeat to the Czech Republic, but it was a disappointing campaign as they crashed out at the first hurdle for the second consecutive tournament.

Euro 2008 provided better team success as Germany made it to the final, however for Schweinsteiger it was a mixed display of performances. Starting the first two games with substitute appearances, he got himself sent off after coming on in the second following a poor reaction to a challenge. Despite the 2-1 loss to Croatia, Germany were still able to advance and Schweinsteiger was reinstated to the line-up for the quarter-final against Portugal. He registered one goal and two assists. He scored again in the semi-final before they lost 1-0 in the final to Spain.

Established as a regular starter, the midfielder played in all five games at Euro 2012 and captained his side in 2016. Following Germany’s 2-0 semi-final defeat to France, Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from international football.

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Who has played at 5 European Championships?

There is currently just one player who has played in five different European Championship tournaments, and that is Cristiano Ronaldo. Appearing in every Euros since 2004, he will hope to make it a sixth in 2024 should Portugal qualify. They look good to do so, having won all six of their qualifiers so far.

Ronaldo became the first player to score at five Euros, whilst also becoming the oldest to score a brace in the competition. He will be hoping to add to those records next year in Germany.

Legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas has also travelled to five tournaments, however, has only appeared in three. He was called up to the Spain squad in 2000 and 2016, but didn’t make an appearance. He did play in 2004, 2008 and 2012, the latter two being back-to-back winning campaigns for the Spain national team. In 2008 he captained the side as he kept clean sheets in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final on their way to tournament victory. At Euro 2012, he became the first player to reach 100 international wins as he kept another clean sheet in a 4-0 victory over Italy in the final. He conceded just once in the entire tournament, which came in the opening game.

Which players could play at their 5th European Championship next summer?

With another tournament coming up in 2024, there are four active players who will be hoping to join Ronaldo in being the only players to appear in five different tournaments.

Luka Modric has appeared in 13 Euro games and will have the opportunity to add to that number if Croatia qualify for the upcoming tournament. He made his Croatia debut in 2006 and his Euros debut in 2008, a tournament in which he scored his team’s first goal. Croatia were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Turkey, but Modric was named in the team of the tournament for his impressive campaign. At 38 years old, Euro 2024 may well be his final international tournament.

Portuguese trio Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho and Pepe will also be looking to play in their fifth Euros. However, the latter two have not been named in recent squads. Moutinho and Pepe are both in the top five for most games played at the tournament but goalkeeper Patricio will be hoping to add to his 16 appearances. Although, he may not see the pitch as he is currently behind Porto keeper Diogo Costa in the pecking order.

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