When Portugal takes the field on Thursday night, former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo will surpass all other international footballers in terms of appearances.
Ronaldo is scheduled to play against Liechtenstein on Thursday night, making him the only player with the most appearances for an international team.
Ronaldo and Kuwaiti striker Bader Al-Mutawa currently hold the record with 196 appearances each. Al-Mutawa was not selected for his national team this week, so the Portuguese legend will now surpass him with a performance against the European underdogs.
Before the game began, it was made official that Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, a former teammate from Manchester United, were in the starting Nine. Stars from Man City Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva also made their debuts.
The news comes as the former Real Madrid, Juventus and Sporting Lisbon star admitted he considered hanging up his boots for his country following his World Cup heartbreak.
Ronaldo was the only free agent at the tournament in Qatar following his exit from Old Trafford post-Piers Morgan interview. The current Al-Nassr captain found his role dwindling as the World Cup went on after scoring in Portugal’s opening group-stage victory over Ghana.
Ronaldo was a substitute in the knockout rounds, but he was unable to alter the outcome of Portugal’s quarterfinal loss to Morocco. The 38-year-old was photographed crying after the game, and it was widely acknowledged that the World Cup in Qatar was his final.
However, Ronaldo asserted that game might have been his final for Portugal as a whole during a press conference before the game on Wednesday. He explained: “I’m not going to lie. We have to weigh every aspect of our lives.
“We thought, we reflected, me and my family, but then we came to the conclusion that, despite the difficulties, we cannot throw in the towel. I was able to see situations at different angles. I learned a lot from that.
“I’m glad to be back. Roberto Martinez demonstrated his reliance on me.
“I’ve always wanted to play. As you are aware, he spoke to everyone, including me.