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Kuwait’s Mutawa becomes world’s most capped player


Doha (AFP) – Veteran Kuwaiti footballer Bader al-Mutawa became the world’s most capped international player when he ran out against Bahrain in an Arab Cup qualifier in Doha on Friday.

For the 36-year-old striker, who scored two goals on his international debut in 2003, it was his 185th appearance with the national team, beating a record long held by retired Egyptian star Ahmed Hassan.

But many top players are well placed in the race to break Mutawa’s record.

Cristiano Ronaldo, 36, is set to mark his 179th international appearance this Sunday when he skippers Portugal against Belgium, the world’s top-ranked team, in the Euro 2020 round of 16.

Portugal scraped through after a 2-2 draw with France in Budapest on Wednesday, with Ronaldo scoring two penalties that allowed him to equal the all-time international record of 109 goals set by Iran’s Ali Daei.

Another competitor is Spain’s veteran defender Sergio Ramos, who has played 180 internationals but was excluded from the national squad for Euro 2020.

Mutawa started his international career on September 4, 2003, in an AFC Asian Cup qualifier at the age of 18 and 237 days.

Since his debut with the Gulf “Blues”, the Kuwaiti captain has faced 44 different national teams and scored 54 goals.

The 2021 Arab Cup is scheduled to run between November 30 and December 18 in Doha, a year before it plays host to the 2022 World Cup.

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