Iker Casillas, the player with the most Champions League appearances

The Spanish goalkeeper has played more game than anyone in the Champions League, having made 171 appearances, 152 of them with Real Madrid.


No other player has starred in the Champions League more times than Iker Casillas. The Spanish goalkeeper was called up in the competition for the first time when he was just 16 for Real Madrid's group stage meeting with Roseborg on 27 November 1997. He travelled with the squad to Trondheim but didn't end up playing against the Norwegians. Instead, he had to wait another two years before making his debut in the competition. 

Iker Casillas braves the cold in Trondheim, Norway in 1997.

Toshack hands Casillas his European debut in Athens

His big moment finally arrived on 15 September 1999. First choice keeper Bodo Illgner was injured and second choice Albano Bizzarri had only recently returned was wasn't fully fit. Madrid coach John Toshack decided to take a chance on the teenage Casillas for the MatchDay 1 game against Olympiacos in Athens. The 18-year-old had appeared four times for the first team in the pre-season, including the Trofeo Bernabéu meeting with AC Milan and made his league debut, his first official match, just three days earlier against Athletic Club. Tosh explained his decision on the eve of the game: "Am I worried about fielding such a young goalkeeper? No, there's nothing I can do about his age. And besides, he has already played against Milan, Perugia and Athletic. Berrizzi is only just back from injury so Iker will start".

A nervous Casillas made his Champions League debut with the match ending 3-3 and kept his place for the following game against Norwegian side Molde - the first of 170 appearances in the tournament, 152 of them being with Real Madrid and the 18 most recent games with Porto.

Iker Casillas in Porto's training session at Anfield yesterday.

Return to Anfield

On Tuesday night, he made his 171st appearance in the competition at Anfield - a ground he knows well; almost exactly 10 years ago this week, he was in the Madrid team which suffered their heaviest Champions League defeat there, crashing 4-0 to Rafa Benítez's Liverpool. With Porto trailing 5-0 from the first leg

Active players with the most Champions League appearances

171: Casillas

157: Xavi Hernández

151: Cristiano Ronaldo

129: Andrés Iniesta

124: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

122: Gianluigi Buffon

120: Leo Messi

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Champions League

Table PTS W D L
1Besiktas 14 4 2 0
2Oporto 10 3 1 2
3RB Leipzig 7 2 1 3
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*Update 6 de marzo de 2018