To make more than 100 Champions League appearances, you require something unique about yourself.
Only a small percentage of footballers have been able to accomplish this feat, with just the most physically and technically capable of doing it.
What players have had some of the greatest Champions League appearances? Goal examines the greatest stars to have lasted through their time in the tournament.
(Last updated: 23rd September 2021)
The legendary Spanish goal-keeper Iker Casillas took his Champions League bow on September 15th, 1999 at 18 years old, which was the youngest shot stopper ever to play in the tournament at the time.
The nickname he was given was San Iker during his time at Real Madrid, Casillas helped Los Blancos to three Champions League championships before transferring to Porto in the year 2015. At Porto, Casillas made an additional 27 Champions League appearances to add to his 150 appearances in Madrid.
His devotion to the UEFA’s top club competition has seen Cristiano Ronaldo win the nickname “Mr Champions League,” and has made an unprecedented number of appearances in the competition , in and out of being at a certain distance, the all-time top goal scorer.
Ronaldo has been for the past six Champions League finals, winning four of them. it is not a secret that he is most dangerous on nights that he is able to perform football’s most well-known anthem of gladiatorial football.
One of Barcelona’s greats of all time, Xavi holds the distinction of being the player who has many Champions League appearances for a single club. The diminutive player led the Catalan giants win 4 Champions League titles during his time with the club.
Xavi had his first Champions League appearances in the 1998-99 season, and his final score after his final season with Barca in 2014-2015 was 151.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi was the first player to play at the Champions League as a teenager during the 2004-05 campaign as well. The Barcelona legend has since gone to become one of the tournament’s most famous figures.
Messi has been able to grab this trophy five times, and is the second-highest scorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo with regards to goals scored during the tournament. The player is currently in the squad of Paris Saint-Germain, the Argentina star is trying to help the French side win the “Holy Grail”.
Before Cristiano Ronaldo arrived on the scene in his home in the Spanish capital of Madrid, Raul had been referred to as “Mr Champions League’. The infamous No.7 played his team the Galacticos in winning 3 European Cup titles and was the tournament’s greatest goalscorer , scoring 71 times before being surpassed by the CR7.
The Spanish famous hero Raul was a regular for 130 games with Real Madrid in the Champions League and another 12 appearances for German team Schalke toward the end of his career.
The man is widely regarded as Manchester United’s greatest footballers, Ryan Giggs was a unwavering supporter of Manchester United and was a frequent presence on big European nights. The man nicknamed “The Welsh Wizard’ helped the Red Devils to Champions League glory in both 1999 and 2008.
After his first appearance at the tournament in 1993 Giggs’ incredible longevity made sure that he was making a statement about United throughout the contest until the year 2014.
Real Madrid star Karim Benzema was able to match Raul’s Champions League goal haul in less than 11 games, and is doing well in the tournament.
The France international started the Champions League journey with a impressive Lyon team before progressing to bigger things at Madrid and helping Los Blancos to four titles after joining the club in 2009-10.
As his Barcelona counterpart Xavi, Andres Iniesta made all the 130 Champions League appearances for a single club. The four-time champion made his debut game in the 2002-03 campaign before closing the curtains in 2017-18.
In the time that Real Madrid were the dominant player during the Champions League between 2014 and the year 2018. Sergio Ramos was the beating center of their efforts. His first encounter with the tournament came during an 3-0 defeat against Lyon in 2005. However, Ramos went on to claim the four Champions League titles, surpassing the century mark of appearances.
Thomas Muller scored on his Champions League debut, when Muller was an opportunist in the second half to Bastian Schweinsteiger during Bayern Munich’s 7-1 defeat of Sporting on the 10th of March 2009. Since then, he’s been involved in over 120 matches and has won the trophy twice.
This Germany legend has played in Bayern Munich in 14 consecutive Champions League seasons and counting.
Clarence Seedorf won the Champions League at three different teams: Ajax (1995), Real Madrid (1998) and AC Milan (2003, 2007).
The famous Netherlands player made his competitive debut as an alternative to Ajax with a score of 2-0 win against Milan on the 14th of September 1994. His last appearance was a 3-1 loss at Barcelona on April 3rd in 2012.