Which players Have Participated in 5 or More World Cups?

Jordan Edmonds

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Antonio Carbajal (1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, and 1966)

Of the only three players that have played in a World Cup tournament, two are Mexican. The first player to accomplish the feat of representing his country in five different tournaments is Antonio Carbajal, who appeared at his first one in the 1950 edition in Brazil.

in 1950, El Tri failed to win a single game in the competition, losing all three of their Group 1 games against Yugoslavia, Switzerland and eventual runners-up, Brazil, with goalkeeper Carbajal playing in all three games.

At the 1954 tournament, Carbajal played one of Mexico’s two games in Switzerland, seeing them go out in the group stage. The Club Leon ‘keeper was the Mexico captain in the 1958 competition, but his side once again failed to win in their three group games.

Carbajal led his team out in the 1962 World Cup in Chile, where they managed to get a win over Czechoslovakia, but once again failed to advance in a group which – once again – came up against the almighty Brazil.

Mexico was in England’s group in the famous 1966 World Cup, but once again failed to win a game and were knocked out. The Three Lions beat Mexico 2-0 as they went on to win the competition, but Carbajal only featured in the final group game – a 0-0 stalemate with Uruguay – earning a clean sheet on his last World Cup appearance.

Lothar Matthaus (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998)

The second-ever player to compete in five World Cup tournaments was legendary German midfielder Lothar Matthaus.

After first being called up to help his side win Euro 1980, Matthaus made his first World Cup appearance in the 1982 World Cup in Spain. The former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan star only made two appearances for West Germany, in group wins over Chile and Austria, before watching from the bench as they made it all the way to the final before losing out to Italy.

Four years later, Matthaus had a more prominent role, starting in all seven Germany fixtures as they again made their way to the final, before being beaten by Argentina.

Italia ’90 was the highlight of Matthaus’ career, as he captained his country to victory. Matthaus scored three times in the three group games, before leading the Germans past the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia in the knockout stages and then knocking England out in the semi-final on penalties. Matthaus lifted Germany’s third World Cup following the 1-0 win over Argentina.

Matthaus captained the side again in 1994, but was unable to help his team get past the quarter-finals. In his final World Cup tournament, France ’98, Jurgen Klinsmann captained Germany and Matthaus made four appearances as Germany once again could only reach the quarter-finals.

Matthaus had a glittering career that saw him win seven Bundesliga titles, a European Championship, a Ballon d’Or, and captain his country to a World Cup. As well as becoming the second-ever player to play in five World Cups, Matthaus holds the record for most games played in World Cups with 25 across his illustrious career.

Rafael Marquez (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)

The third player to reach five World Cup appearances is former Mexico defender Rafael Marquez.

The former Barcelona defender made his first World Cup tournament appearance in the 2002 South Korea/Japan competition, captaining the side as they reached the Round of 16 stage. He was again the captain as Mexico reached the Round of 16 stage four years later, losing out to Argentina in extra-time.

Marquez started all four Mexico games in the 2010 World Cup, although was only captain for two of those, as once again El Tri was knocked out by Argentina in the RO16. Marquez played in his fourth World Cup in the 2014 Brazil World Cup, and led his side to the R016 again, but they were knocked out by the Netherlands.

Marquez’s last World Cup tournament was the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He only made two substitute appearances in the huge group wins over Germany and South Korea, before playing one half as captain in the RO16 loss against Brazil.

Marquez retired in 2018 after a magnificent career that saw him pick up numerous honours, such as being a part of the 08/09 treble-winning team at Barcelona.

Nearly Men

Gianluigi Buffon

Iconic Italian goalkeeper Buffon is unlucky to miss out on the list after going to five World Cups as a player. However, the former Juventus and Parma stopper didn’t play in the 1998 World Cup despite travelling with the squad.

Buffon played in four World Cups, in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014, but Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Whilst he still captains Parma in Serie B, it’s unlikely that Buffon will play in World Cup number five after retiring from the international scene in 2018.

Andres Guardado

Another Mexican that could join Marquez and Carbajal is Andres Guardado. The former PSV and Valencia midfielder made his first World Cup appearance at Germany ’06, before then going on to play in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 competitions.

The 35-year-old looks likely to equal the record in November, as he is still a regular player for Real Betis in La Liga.

Lionel Messi

One of the greatest of all time is likely to join that list of great players that have competed in five World Cups, with Argentina set to compete in Qatar.

Messi also came on to the international scene in the 2006 World Cup with Argentina, playing in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 World Cups after that. There is no doubt Argentina will be looking for some inspiration from the magician who still continues to shine for PSG.

Lionel Messi Argentina

Cristiano Ronaldo

Like his great rival, Cristiano Ronaldo can also join the list and equal the record when Portugal kicks off their Qatar journey in November.

Ronaldo also burst on to the international scene in the 2006 edition and played in the subsequent World Cups. Ronaldo has been a bit out of form so far this season for Manchester United and has struggled to get into the team, but you just know that the legendary figure will want to have the last laugh on the biggest stage.

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal

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