Which players have the most European Championship appearances, and which of the top 10 could add to their total this summer?


Most Appearances at European Championship Finals by Players

25 – Cristiano Ronaldo*
19 – Pepe*, João Moutinho*
18 – Leonardo Bonucci*, Bastian Schweinsteiger
17 – Giorgio Chiellini, Gianluigi Buffon
16 – Edwin van der Sar, Rui Patrício*, Andrés Iniesta,
Lilian Thuram, Jordi Alba*, Cesc Fàbregas

*still active


Cristiano Ronaldo
25 Appearances

It is no surprise to see the most-capped player in the history of international men’s football clear at the top of this list. Ronaldo is into his third decade of representing his country and a fair while ago became the first male player to reach 200 international caps. He is also well clear as the player with the most appearances at the Euros.

He made his first European Championship appearance as a teenager at Euro 2004 on home soil, scoring his first international goal in Portugal’s opener – in the first of what would become two losses at that tournament to eventual champions Greece (also losing in the final).

Ronaldo had come off the bench for the first of those games, and also did in Portugal’s second game against Russia. He has since started in each of his 23 Euros appearances, but he was forced to come off with injury in the Euro 2016 final, when Portugal won their only major international honour ever.

Euro 2016 final stats

He has now played for Portugal at five European Championship tournaments and could make it six this summer if he appears at Euro 2024. The veteran forward is now 39, though, so he may have to get used to appearing from the bench if he is to add to his quarter-century of appearances or his record 14 goals.

Pepe
19 Appearances

Pepe turned 41 in February 2024 but is still playing at the top level for Porto and representing his country regularly, too. With 19 appearances – all of which have been starts – at the European Championship, he is joint-second in this list, but he is fairly likely to add to his tally at Euro 2024. He’s also likely to become one of the oldest players in European Championship history, this summer.

Born in Brazil, Pepe came to the international stage with Portugal at the age of 24 in qualifying for Euro 2008, and then played at those finals, as well as Euro 2012, Euro 2016 and Euro 2020 since then. If he plays even a minute this summer, he’ll make it to 20 Euros appearances across five different tournaments.

He played a key role as Portugal won Euro 2016, but he missed the semi-final with a thigh injury, watching on as his teammates secured a place in the final with their only win inside 90 minutes at the whole tournament. They had progressed from the group stage with three draws from three, and so had one of the best records of the third-placed teams.

Pepe returned for the extra-time victory over France in the final, meaning he drew all six of his games at the tournament but still won the competition (no, extra-time or penalty-shootout victories don’t count as wins; they are draws).

João Moutinho
19 Appearances

Level second is a third Portuguese legend in this list in João Moutinho, although six of his appearances came off the bench. He will not add to his tally at Euro 2024, having failed to make the final cut of Portugal’s squad. The most recent of his 146 caps came in September 2022, but he is still playing in the Portuguese top flight for SC Braga.

The first of his caps came in 2005, meaning his international career has taken in four European Championship tournaments – 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020. He made 19 appearances across those four editions, and although he only started three games as Portugal won Euro 2016, he was on the pitch when Éder popped up with the winner in the final against France.

Leonardo Bonucci
18 Appearances

Bonucci has only – so far – played at three European Championship finals but, having made his Italy debut in 2010, he has enjoyed a successful period in Italy’s history – at continental level, at least. While at the World Cup he has endured two group-stage exits and two outright failures to qualify during his international career, he has played in 18 matches at the last three Euros, with Italy going deep in each time.

Italy were beaten finalists at Euro 2012, with Bonucci starting five of their six games and coming off the bench in the other. They were then knocked out in the quarter-finals four years later in France, losing to Germany on penalties with Bonucci ever-present, although he saw his spot-kick saved in the shootout. Then, he played all seven games as Italy were crowned champions at Euro 2020, scoring the equaliser in the final at Wembley before he also netting from the spot in an ultimately successful penalty shootout.

euro 2020 final stats

He has not represented Italy since June 2023, and announced his retirement from football on the eve of Euro 2024.

Bastian Schweinsteiger
18 Appearances

Schweinsteiger made his international debut at the age of 19, just days before the start of Euro 2004, where he went on to make three appearances as Germany crashed out in the group stage without a win.

He then went on to be named in the Germany squad for every international tournament for the next 12 years, playing at Euro 2008, Euro 2012 and Euro 2016, racking up 18 appearances in total, although eight of those came off the bench.

He would have another appearance to his name were it not for the red card he received in Germany’s second group stage game against Croatia at Euro 2008. He served a suspension for their final group game, but then returned with a bang in the knockout rounds, scoring once and setting up two more in the quarter-final win over Portugal, before scoring again in the semi-final against Turkey. Neither he nor any teammate could find a way past Spain in the final, though, as Germany fell to a 1-0 defeat.

Schweinsteiger then played every minute as Germany made it to the Euro 2012 semi-finals – where they were beaten by Italy – and also featured in five out of six games at Euro 2016 before another semi-final exit, this time to France.

He played one more friendly before retiring from international football, meaning his Germany career was bookended by European Championships with a single friendly appearance at either end.


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