Ronaldo, Messi, Bellingham: The 14 most incredible football records broken in 2021

  • Kobe Tong

Cristiano Ronaldo seldom goes a week without breaking an astonishing record.

The Manchester United ace is out there proving that anything and everything is possible at 36 years old as he continues to make history and compete with players more than a decade his junior.

So, as we start to wave goodbye to 2021, it only makes sense to look back on all the mind-blowing achievements that Ronaldo has added to his interminable collection over the last 12 months.

Best football records in 2021

The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) gave us the perfect opportunity todo  just that by collecting their data to reveal some of the biggest football records broken in 2021.

Their compilation of 14 remarkable feats includes no less than two world records and five European bests from Ronaldo with a certain Paris Saint-Germain rival of his also making an appearance.

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All that considered, be sure to do yourselves a favour by checking out the 14 records that IFFHS claim to have been broken in 2021 down below because they really do highlight Ronaldo’s genius.

Most goals for one club

Lionel Messi surpassed Pele’s total of 646 strikes for Santos by amassing 672 goals for Barcelona, before moving to the Parc des Princes in a shock free transfer over the summer.

Most official goals in history

Truth be told, this depends on whose statistics you believe, but the IFFHS have Ronaldo as the most prolific male player in history with his 802 goals surpassing the 766 accumulated by Pele.


First five decade player

We’re not entirely sure why this feat has been attributed to 2021 with Kazuyoshi Miura having also played last year, but appearing in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s is insane either way.

Most goals in a single league

Yet another case of Messi overtaking Pele with the 474 goals that he racked up in La Liga before leaving for Ligue 1 surpassing the 469 strikes that are attributed to the previous record.


Youngest player in Euros history

When Jude Bellingham took to the pitch during England vs Croatia at the age of just 17 years and 349 days old, he surpassed Jetro Willems’ benchmark of 18 years and 71 days in the process.

Most Euros tournaments played in

Ronaldo’s participation in this summer’s tournament meant that he became the first player to have appeared in five iterations across Euro 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020. 


Most goals at Euros tournaments

And the Portuguese sensation also became the all-time record goalscorer at the Euros with his Golden Boot-winning exploits in the summer raising him to 14 strikes above Michel Platini’s 10.

Most goals in a Euros qualifying and finals campaign

With 11 goals in Euro 2020 qualifying and a further five conversations at the finals themselves, Ronaldo’s total of 16 topped the 15 goals that Davor Suker registered across Euro 96 proceedings.


Most national team goals in history

A well-known one, this, but arguably the most important of all with Ronaldo besting Ali Daei’s tally of 109 goals to become the all-time record goalscorer in men’s international football with 115 strikes.

Longest unbeaten run in international football

Having eclipsed the previous invincible streaks of Brazil and Spain at 35 games, Italy eventually saw their world-record-breaking run come to an end at 37 matches with defeat in October.


Most national team goals in South American history

Messi might never beat Ronaldo’s global tally of international goals, but he did surpass Pele’s high-water mark for South America with 80 goals overwhelming the previous feat of 77 strikes.

Oldest player in an international club game

By far the weirdest record on the list, Suriname vice president Ronnie Brunswijk started for the club that he owns, Inter Moengotapoe, in the CONCACF League at 60 years and 198 days old in September.

Wearing the No. 61 jersey as a tribute to his birth year, Brunswijk broke the record that was previously held by George Weah with an unexpected appearance during the 6-0 defeat to Olimpia.

Most caps for a European international team

Another record for Ronaldo as his 184 caps for Portugal tops the 181 that Sergio Ramos boasts for Spain. The overall world record is held by Soh Chin Ann of Malaysia with 219 appearances.

Most games in European club competitions.

And yes, we finish on yet more history from Ronaldo as Iker Casillas’ record of 187 games in UEFA club competitions is no more with his former Real Madrid teammate moving up to 189 outings.


Ronaldo simply isn’t human

It really is crazy to think that Ronaldo was only ranked sixth in the Ballon d’Or votes when you consider all the historic achievements he’s completed over the last 12 months.

While, trust me, we’re not trying to say that Ronaldo had a better year than Robert Lewandowski and Messi, surely all these stunning feats at least top Karim Benzema, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante?

Terry brutally honest on Ralf Rangnick (Football Terrace)

But even if you really do think that Ronaldo was only the world’s sixth-best player in 2021, there’s no escaping the fact that he’s much higher in the overall history books now with all of these records.



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