Ronaldo earned his 197th cap as he started Thursday's Euro 2024 qualifier against Liechtenstein, moving him clear of Kuwait legend Bader Al-Mutawa, who held the previous record with 196.
Ronaldo earned his 197th cap as he started Thursday's Euro 2024 qualifying 4-0 victory over Liechtenstein in which he struck a brace, moving him clear of Kuwait legend Bader Al-Mutawa, who held the previous record with 196.
"Records are my motivation," Ronaldo told reporters on the day before the game. "I want to become the most-capped player in history.”
“That would make me proud. But it doesn't stop there. I still want to be called up very often."
Al Mutawa had previously held the title in 2021, only for FIFA to validate Malaysia's Soh Chin Ann's total at 195.
"Records are made to be broken," said Al-Mutawa in a statement following Ronaldo's achievement.
"It was an honour for me to represent my country for so many years and I am proud to have held this record for as long as I did."
There were doubts over whether the Ronaldo would feature in the Portugal squad again after being dropped from the starting XI at the World Cup, but he has kept his place under new boss Roberto Martinez.
Ronaldo's goal-scoring form at Al Nassr resulted in a call-up despite fears that the questionable competitiveness of the division could have seen him snubbed.
"I still want to keep playing and achieve more," Ronaldo said. "I am still motivated and eager to contribute to my country's success on the international stage."
At 38 years old, Ronaldo made his debut for Portugal back in August 2003 at just 18 years old, coming off the bench to replace the legendary Luis Figo in a friendly victory over Kazakhstan.
After a brief return to the Under-21 side, Ronaldo quickly established himself as a permanent feature of the senior team.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has also broken the record for most goals in men's international football, with a total of 118 goals.
Ronaldo surpassed Ali Daei last September for the most international goals by a men's player, scoring two goals against the Republic of Ireland to go clear of the Iranian's total of 109.
However, Ronaldo still has a long way to go to break the all-time international appearance record across both men's and women's football.
United States legend Kristine Lilly currently holds the honour with a whopping 354 appearances for her country.