As we wave goodbye to 2021, let’s look back on the mind-blowing achievements made during the year by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and more.
From the non-stop stream of goals, the constant flow of football records broken, to even the biggest players in history swapping clubs, 2021 was one of the craziest years in recent memory.
It’s been wild, to say the least.
Now, as the year comes to a close, Ronaldo.com looks back on the 10 most impressive records that were broken in 2021.
Most official goals in history – Cristiano Ronaldo
Some say it’s a record, others disagree.
But as far as Cristiano Ronaldo is concerned, he is the world’s top goalscorer in football history. The Portuguese ace acknowledged his record in March after surpassing Pele’s record of 757 official goals.
He currently has a mind-blowing 802 career goals to his name.
Youngest player in a European Championship – Jude Bellingham
At just 17 years and 349 days old, Jude Bellingham surpassed Jetro Willems as the youngest player to feature in the European Championship.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder broke the record in England’s Group B opener against Croatia in the summer’s Euro 2020 tournament.
Most goals at Euros tournaments – Cristiano Ronaldo
Another man to break a record in Euro 2020 was Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portugal captain surpassed France legend Michel Platini’s record of 10 goals in the European Championship by taking his tally to 14 goals, while also winning the Golden Boot prize.
Highest-scoring South American of all time – Lionel Messi
The Paris Saint-Germain star’s brace in the 4-1 Champions League win over Club Brugge in December saw him surpass Pele as the highest-scoring South American footballer of all time.
He currently has 758 goals in his career.
Most Bundesliga goals in a calendar year – Robert Lewandowski
The Pole broke two of the Bayern Munich legend Gerd Muller’s 49-year standing records in 2021.
First, Robert Lewandowski bested the German’s tally of 40 in a single Bundesliga campaign by scoring 41 times in 2020/21. He then took his tally for the year itself to 43 goals in December, surpassing Muller’s record of 42 goals in 1972.
Most national team goals in history – Cristiano Ronaldo
Probably the biggest record broken in 2021 was Cristiano Ronaldo besting Ali Daei’s record of 109 international goals.
The Portugal captain broke the record against the Republic of Ireland in September and has since extended his tally to 115 goals.
Longest unbeaten run in international football – Italy
After their heart-breaking failure to qualify for the World Cup four years ago, Italy’s pride was restored in 2021.
The Azzurri won Euro 2020 and, perhaps most impressive of all, set a record of 37 games unbeaten until October. Brazil and Spain previously shared the record at 35 matches without a defeat.
Most national team goals in South American history – Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi broke another Pele record in 2021 by becoming the South American with the most international goals.
The Argentina captain currently has 80 goals to his name in international, three more than Pele’s haul of 77 strikes for Brazil.
Oldest player in an international club game – Ronnie Brunswijk
At 60 years and 198 days old, Ronnie Brunswijk became the oldest player to feature in an international club game in September.
The Suriname vice president broke George Weah’s long-standing record by making an appearance in Inter Moengotapoe’s 6-0 defeat to Olimpia in the CONCACAF League.
Brunswijk wore the No.61 jersey as a tribute to his birth year and captained the team he owns. The CONCACAF later found him guilty of match-fixing after a leaked video (above) showed him paying the Olimpia players. He got a three-year ban from participating in any CONCACAF tournament.
Most caps for a European international team – Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo surpassed former Real Madrid teammate and Spain captain Sergio Ramos as the European player to win the most international caps in 2021.
The 36-year-old Portuguese has 184 caps to his name, although he still has some way to go to beat the world record of 219 caps set by Soh Chin Ann of Malaysia.