Ronaldo, Messi, Ramos: Who's played the most official games in the 21st century?

Cristiano Ronaldo has played over 1,000 games

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been football’s defining figures in the 21st century.

The two players who many believe are the greatest the sport has ever seen have rewritten the record books since making their professional debuts in the early 2000s.

Ronaldo and Messi have both scored over 750 goals apiece, the former recently surpassing the 800 mark thanks to a match-winning brace versus Arsenal in a Premier League fixture.

To put it simply, they really are a different breed of footballer.

Ronaldo and Messi’s achievements at the very highest level of the sport have been significantly aided by the fact that they’ve been able to play an enormous number of games.

Both superstars have avoided serious, career-changing injuries up until now and that’s resulted in the pair making 2,016 appearances for club and country between them at the time of writing.

Ronaldo & Messi in action

Ronaldo is responsible for 1,066 of those games played and that really is a frightening amount of football for just one man.

Unsurprisingly, the Manchester United icon takes top spot when it comes to appearances made in the 21st century and you can take a look at the rest of Transfermarkt‘s top 10 below.

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The 10 footballers with the most official games played in the 21st century

10. James Milner – 838 games

9. Frank Lampard – 843 games

8. Dani Alves – 848 games

7. Xavi Hernandez – 860 games

6. Iker Casillas – 883 games

5. Pepe Reina – 888 games

4. Sergio Ramos – 896 games

3. Gianluigi Buffon – 901 games

2. Lionel Messi – 950 games

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – 1,066 games

The 10 players with the most games played

Ronaldo and Messi are the only outfield players with 900 or more games under their belts and they will almost certainly significantly add to their totals before retiring from the sport.

To play that number of games requires a level of dedication that few players in history have possessed.

A little bit of luck is also necessary too, but most of it is down to Ronaldo and Messi’s unwavering commitment to wowing football fans around the globe on a regular basis.

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