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11 Players with the most Champions League appearances

UEFA Champions League is Europe's most prestigious club competition in football. Here we are with a list of 11 players with most appearances in the Champions League since 1955.

AS
Last updated: 03.09.2019
11 Players with the most Champions League appearances | Sports Social Blog

UEFA Champions League is Europe's most prestigious club competition in football. It is organized by the UEFA (The Union of European Football Associations), which is the administrative body for association football in Europe and parts of Asia. 


Yesterday at the Champions League draw ceremony, 32 teams were separated into eight groups of four. Some individual awards were also announced at the draw ceremony. Virgil Van Dijk won the UEFA Men's Player of the Year and Lucy Bronze took home the UEFA Women's Player of the Year trophy. 


Here we are with a list of 11 players with most appearances in the Champions League since 1955. Real Madrid is the most successful club in this competition and three of their former stars dominate this list. Without further ado, let's check out the players with most games played in the UEFA Champions League from 1955 to 2019. 

 

 

1. Iker Casillas 


 

Appearances - 181

Teams played - Real Madrid, FC Porto

Champions League trophies won - 3 (1999-00, 2001-02, 2013-14)

 

Of all the players to appear in the prestigious competition since 1955, former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has the highest number of appearances, taking the pitch 181 times. Most of these appearances have been for Real Madrid. He holds the joint record for the most IFFHS World's Best goalkeeper award (5) alongside Buffon and has won them consecutively. 

 

 

2. Cristiano Ronaldo


 

Appearances - 166

Teams played - Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus 

Champions League trophies won - 5 (2007-08, 2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18)

 

After winning his fifth Champions League in 2018, he came on a level with Paolo Maldini, Di Stefano, and six others in second place on the all-time winner's list. Ronaldo has scored four goals in final games in matches in the UEFA Champions League, which is the most by any player. He is also the top-scorer in the Champions League with 126 goals in 162 appearances. If he manages to win the Champions League with the Old Lady, he'll equal Seedorf's record of winning it with three different clubs. He still needs at least two more seasons to overtake Saint Iker in the most appearances list.

 

 

3. Xavi Hernández

 


Appearances - 157

Teams played - FC Barcelona

Champions League trophies won - 4 (2005-06, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15)

 

The first and only Barcelona player to make more than 150 appearances in the Champions League, Xavi has won the trophy four times. Xavi along with his midfield partner Iniesta, set the European stage on fire and dominated the midfield for a decade. He now manages Al Sadd SC in Qatar and will be remembered as one of the true legends of the European competition.

 

 

4. Ryan Giggs 

 


Appearances - 151

Teams played - Manchester United

Champions League trophies won - 2 (1998-99, 2007-08)

 

The current manager of the Wales national team, Ryan Giggs retired in 2014, racking up 151 appearances in the Champions League. Another one-club legend, Giggs was one of the best players of Ferguson's Red Devils. The two times Champions League winner is also the competitions's 30th highest scorer. 

 

 

5. Raúl González

 


Appearances - 144

Teams played - Real Madrid, Schalke 04

Champions League trophies won - 3 (1997-98, 1999-2000, 2001-02)

 

Fifth on the most appearances list, Raúl is also third in the list of all-time top-scorers in this competition. He scored 72 goals in 142 appearances over 15 seasons. Though he couldn't replicate the same European success as he did in Madrid, he still managed to rack up some appearances at Schalke.

 

 

6. Paolo Maldini


 

Appearances - 139

Teams played - AC Milan

Champions League trophies won - 5 (1988-89, 1989-90, 1993-94, 2002-03, 2006-07)

 

Another one-club man in this list, Maldini has played for AC Milan in his entire career winning the Champions League five times. Regarded as one of the best defenders of all time, Maldini spent 25 seasons at AC Milan. He holds the most A.C. Milan appearance record (902). He also holds the record for most finals played in UEFA Champions League – 8 (tied with Francisco Gento). He is the one man who Messi is guaranteed to supersede in this list. 

 

 

7. Lionel Messi

 


Appearances - 135 

Teams played - FC Barcelona

Champions League trophies won - 4 (2005-06, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15)

 

The second highest top scorer in the Champions League history, Messi boasts 4 UCL trophies and is still hungry to win more, having not tasted success since 2014-15. Yesterday, he won the UEFA Champions League Forward of the season award and was the runners-up for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award behind Virgil Van Dijk. 

 

 

8. Andrés Iniesta 

 


Appearances - 132 

Teams played - FC Barcelona

Champions League trophies won - 4 (2005-06, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15)

 

Now a Vissel Kobe player, Iniesta spent 16 seasons at Barcelona winning the trophy four times and raking in 132 appearances. He won the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award in 2012 and also boasts of winning the IFHHS Best plamaker award two times. He was also the Man of the Match in the final against Juventus in 2015. 

 

 

9. Clarence Seedorf

 


Appearances - 131

Teams played - Ajax, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, AC Milan

Champions League trophies won - 4 (1994-95, 1997-98, 2002–03, 2006–07)

 

One of the best players in Champions League history, definitely one of the most successful in UCL history, Clarence Seedorf needs no introduction. 4 times winner, Seedorf is the only player to win the Champions League with three different clubs. The first came with Ajax in 1995, the second came with Real Madrid in 1998, the final two with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. 

 

 

10. Paul Scholes

 


Appearances - 130

Teams played - Manchester United

Champions League trophies won - 2 (1998-99, 2007-08)

 

'Scholesy' as he was fondly called spent his entire career at Manchester United. Rising up the ranks from the youth academy, Paul Scholes became a club legend of the Red Devils. One of the best midfielders of his generation, Scholes had an intelligent eye for passes and went on to rake in 130 appearances in the Champions League. 

He didn't have the best of luck when it came to UCL finals as he was suspended for the triumph over Bayern in 1999, and was injured in 2008. Still played a major role in winning them.

 

 

11. Gianluigi Buffon 

 


Appearances - 130 

Teams played - Juventus, PSG

 

The only player in this list to have never won the Champions League, Buffon can supersede Scholes, Seedorf, and Iniesta in terms of appearances this season. He has won several titles in his career including the World Cup in 2006 but has never won the Champions League. He has three Champions League final appearances (2002-03, 2014-15, 2016-17) and he was on the losing side all three times.

 

 

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