Welcome back to another Ultimate XI, today we are going to be putting together a team of players that have made over 150 international appearances.
Only 28 players have achieved this feat, but luckily we have been able to fill out each position!
Let’s get into the XI!
GOALKEEPER- Iker Casillas
The Spanish stopper Iker Casillas made 167 appearances for his country in an international career that spanned 16 years. It was a straight shootout between him and Gigi Buffon for the number one jersey, I had to go for Casillas, just…
Casillas was in goal for Spain’s 2010 World Cup triumph, and their back to back Euro’s wins in 2008 and 2012. He even kept David De Gea out of the Spain set up whilst the Manchester United stopper was arguably the best in the world such was Casillas’ importance to Spanish football.
Goalkeepers are the most likely position to make this many appearances, with five of the 27 most capped players in that position.
LEFT BACK- Maynor Figueroa
Maynor Figueroa is one of the best players to have come from Honduras, and he is their record appearance maker, with 163. He is most known for his time in the Premier League with Wigan and Hull, but he now plays in the MLS with Houston Dynamo.
Figueroa was able to play at centre back or left back, and he will take up the left sided position in this XI. At his best he was a quick and strong centre back that did a good job for some consistent Premier League sides.
His crowning glory is the 2013 FA Cup win with Wigan, of which he was central to in their defence. His international career has spanned 17 years and he is still playing today so his caps could just keep going up!
RIGHT BACK- Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos is Spain’s record appearance maker with 170 caps to his name, and due to his ability to play at right back, he can slot in well here.
Ramos is another member of Spain’s heroic Euro’s and World Cup winning team of the last 2000’s and early 2010’s, and he is still going strong at the age of 34.
He started his career at right back, but moved into centre back when it was clear that he was one of the best defensive players in the world. He has the second most international appearances for a European player, behind only Gigi Buffon
CENTRE BACK- Claudio Suarez
Mexico’s Claudio Suarez has the most International appearances of any player in this XI with 177, and he has the third most international caps of all time.
Suarez made his international debut at 24 years old, and played his last international match 14 years later, he was such an important figure in the Mexican back line.
He helped his country win the 1999 Confederations cup, and also three CONCACAF Gold cups in 1993, 1996 and 1998. He played all of his club football in Mexico (with a three year stint playing in the MLS), but he was a hugely consistent figure.
CENTRE BACK- Iván Hurtado
Ivan Hurtado never made more than 110 league appearances for any of his 17 domestic clubs, but he made 168 appearances for Ecuador between 1992 and 2014 (22 years!!).
He is the most capped South American international footballer ever, and is ninth on the list of all time International appearances. He has made nearly 50 more appearances than any other Ecuador international.
He has represented Ecuador at two World Cup finals, and was captain at both tournaments (2002 & 2006). He is now a member of the Ecuador National Assembly.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley has made 151 appearances for the United States and so he is only just eligible for this XI, however he is just 32 and still has another couple of years to get that figure up!
He is the son of former Swansea and United States manager Bob Bradley, and Michael has had a good career in Europe himself, with Roma, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Chievo Verona.
Bradley has won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in two occasions (2007 & 2017), and he is one of the best midfielders to have played for the United States.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Lothar Matthäus
Lothar Matthäus is the third World Cup winner in this XI, and he is arguably the best of them. Matthäus played for both West Germany and then the unified German team, and made a total of 150 appearances, so he scrapes into this XI!
He was a box to box midfielder, who did everything on the pitch, and he is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time, and certainly one of Germany’s greatest.
He played at Five World Cups, which is only equalled by Rafael Márquez, so this just shows how much of a consistent presence he was for the Germans.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Andrés Guardado
Andrés Guardado is the second youngest player in this XI, and he makes it because of his 158 appearances for Mexico. He made his international debut 15 years ago and since then he has played at four World Cups.
Guardado has been a part of three CONCACAF Gold Cup wins with Mexico, and he won the Golden Ball at that tournament in 2015. He is Mexico’s second most appearance maker, and has been excellent in their midfield.
He has made over 200 La Liga appearances and has also made a name for himself in the Eredivisie, making nearly 80 appearances for PSV. He can play at left back, left wing or in central midfield so his versatility has allowed him to carve out an excellent career.
ATTACKING MIDFIELD- Landon Donovan
Landon Donovan has made 157 appearances for the United States, which makes him their record appearance maker, this is befitting as he is one of the best players to have played for the United States.
Donovan was named the best young player at the 2002 World Cup, and maybe he didn’t reach the heights that this promised, but he still had a good career. He scored 57 goals for the United States, which is about one every three games, which is a very good record.
He could operate as a forward or a winger, but for this XI we’ll play him just behind the front line. He had an excellent career in the MLS, mainly with LA Galaxy, and he also played in both the Premier League and the Bundesliga.
STRIKER- Hossam Hassan
Hossam Hassan is Egypt’s second highest appearance maker with 170, and record scorer with 69 goals, he is regarded as one of Egypt’s best ever players.
He helped his country to three African Cup of Nations triumphs and he was the top scorer in the 1998 competition. He is seventh in the all time appearance makers list, and the second highest forward.
He won fourteen Egyptian League titles in his club career, and was the leagues top scorer on two occasions. He was at his best at Al Ahly and Zamalek where he scored on average a goal every other game.
STRIKER- Cristiano Ronaldo
I just had to save the best until last for this XI, Cristiano Ronaldo has made 164 international appearances for Portugal, and scored a ridiculous 99 goals!
Listing Ronaldo’s honours and achievements is a bit pointless, basically just think of anything there is to win individually or as a team and he has done it (apart from the World Cup).
He is the second highest international scorer of all time behind only Iran’s Ali Daei, but I wouldn’t put it past the Juventus striker to get at least another 11 to overtake the Iranian. Ronaldo is a Portugal legend, and a truly iconic talent.
That’s all for today’s XI!
See you tomorrow!