The greatest honour a player can receive is to play for their country. Only a select few, however, can claim to have performed on the worldwide stage more than 100 times. The number of players in the appearance charts is even lower. According to FIFA official documents, a total of 548 players have participated in 100 or more "A" international matches for their respective nation(s) as of 3 June 2021.
With 184 caps, Egypt's Ahmed Hassan owns the men's all-time appearance record. In 1959, England's Billy Wright became the first player to appear in 100 international matches. In total, he played 105 times for England, 90 of them as captain. With 182 caps, Bader Al-Mutawa of Kuwait is currently the active player with the most international appearances. Here are the top ten, but be warned: this list does not include any world-famous footballers, but they have all earned their places on it.
1. Ahmed Hassan - 184 caps (Egypt)
Ahmed Hassan is a former Egyptian footballer who played as a right-winger or attacking midfielder. With 184 appearances for Egypt, he is the most capped international male footballer in history. Hassan has represented Egypt in eight Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, winning four times in 1998, 2006, 2008, and 2010. He was selected captain in the 2006 tournament and scored four goals in six games, the tournament's second-highest individual goal total. After winning his second title and Egypt's fifth, he was awarded best player of the tournament, a distinction he repeated at the age of 34 in 2010. Hassan led Egypt to their sixth Africa Cup of Nations win in 2008.
2. Bader Al-Mutawa - 182 caps (Kuwait)
Al-Mutawa is a Kuwaiti professional footballer who now represents Qadsia and the Kuwait national team as a second striker. With 182 caps, he is presently the most-capped active international player, and if he continues to play, he would surpass Ahmed Hassan's record. The 2003 Arabian Gulf Cup, held by Kuwait, was Al-first Mutawa's major international competition. He has a total of 56 goals for his country and continues to do so.
3. Ahmed Mubarak - 180 caps (Oman)
Ahmed Mubarak is an Omani footballer who plays as a midfielder for Al-Markhiya. The 36-year-old is a member of the Oman national football team's first team. In 2003, he was selected for the first time for the national team. Ahmed Mubarak has competed in the Arabian Gulf Cup in the years 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2017. Ahmed Mubarak was named the 2017 Gulf Cup's Most Valuable Player for his contribution to the Omani team's success in the tournament. He has also competed in the Asian Cups of 2004 and 2007, as well as the 2015 Asian Cup.
4. Sergio Ramos - 180 caps (Spain)
Sergio Ramos could have broken the 184 caps record if Spain’s manager Luis Enrique had called him up for the Euros. Ramos has played in four World Cups and three European Championships for the Spanish national team. He was named to the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2010 and the UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament in 2012, after winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championship in 2008 and 2012. He was also named to the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2010 and the UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament in 2012. At the age of 18, he made his debut appearance for Spain, and in 2013, he became the country's youngest player to earn 100 caps. Ramos now holds the record for most caps in the history of the Spanish national team and is the eighth-highest goalscorer in the country's history.
5. Mohamed Al-Deayea - 177 caps (Saudi Arabia)
Al-Deayea is a retired goalkeeper from Saudi Arabia. He represented Saudi Arabia in four FIFA World Cups, earning a total of 178 officially recognised caps, the most ever by a goalkeeper. With his national side, he won the 1996 AFC Asian Cup, two Gulf Cup of Nations, and the 1998 Arab Nations Cup. In 1989, he also assisted Saudi Arabia in winning the FIFA U17 World Cup. Mohamed Al-Deayea announced his retirement from football on June 22, 2010, at the age of 37. Al-Hilal and Juventus F.C. played a large farewell match on January 5, 2012. The King Fahd Stadium was crowded with 70,000 people.
6. Claudio Suarez - 177 caps (Mexico)
Claudio Suarez is a retired professional footballer from Mexico who primarily played as a defender. In Major League Soccer, he most recently played for Chivas USA. He is the Mexican national team's all-time leader in caps, coming in fourth after Egyptian midfielder Ahmed Hassan, Spaniard Sergio Ramos, and Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Deayea. Claudio played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States and the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France as a member and starter for Mexico. He was forced to withdraw from the 2002 FIFA World Cup owing to an injury sustained before the start of the competition. He was selected for the Mexico National Team to compete in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
7. Gianluigi Buffon - 176 caps (Italy)
Buffon is widely recognised as one of the best goalkeepers of all time, and others consider him to be the best of all time. He is one of the rare players to have appeared in over 1,100 games in his professional career. He holds the record for most caps for the Italian national team. After making his debut in 1997, Buffon was called up for a total of five FIFA World Cup competitions. He was the starting goalkeeper for the team that won the 2006 tournament, winning the Golden Glove as the best goalie in the competition. He also competed for Italy in four European Championships, the 1996 Olympics, and two FIFA Confederations Cups, where he won a bronze medal in the 2013 edition.
8. Hossam Hassan - 176 caps (Egypt)
Another Egyptian on our list, Hossam is Egypt's all-time top scorer with 68 goals in 176 appearances. Hassan played in the 1990 World Cup and seven Africa Cup of Nations competitions for his country. He is the eighth-most capped player in men's international football. He represented Egypt at the FIFA World Cup in 1990, assisting the Pharaohs to two draws while narrowly losing 0–1 to England. Ibrahim was an undisputed starter as well. Hassan captained the national team during the 2006 African Cup of Nations, appearing three times and scoring once for the hosts, who won the last of his three continental tournaments.
9. Amer Shafi - 176 caps (Jordan)
Another goalkeeper on our list, Amer Shafi began his career as a midfielder and later became a shot-stopper. On August 17, 2002, Shafi made his Jordanian national team debut in a friendly match against Kenya, which finished in a 0-0 tie. On November 17, 2018, he scored his first international goal for Jordan in a friendly against India, unleashing a long kick that bounced just outside the India penalty area, surprising his opposite number one. He went on to compete in the AFC Asian Cup campaigns in 2004, 2011, 2015, and 2019. He announced his retirement from football on February 8, 2021, and joined the national team coaching staff.
10. Cristiano Ronaldo - 174 caps (Portugal)
Another familiar name, Ronaldo is often regarded as the best player in the world and one of the greatest players of all time. Ronaldo made his senior international debut for Portugal at the age of 18 in 2003 and has since gained 174 caps, including appearances and goals in 10 major tournaments, to become Portugal's most capped player and best goalscorer of all time. By winning Euro 2016, he guided Portugal to their first major tournament victory and was awarded the Silver Boot as the tournament's second-highest goalscorer. He made his international debut at Euro 2004, helping Portugal to the final, and was named full captain of the national squad in July 2008. The Portuguese Football Federation elected Ronaldo the finest Portuguese player of all time in 2015.