Portuguese sensation Pepe creates European Championship history by preventing Cristiano Ronaldo from shattering a 24-year record…

Pepe has become the oldest player in European Championship history, aged 41, to deny Cristiano Ronaldo from breaking a 24-year record.

The Portugal skipper looked to be adding another Euros record to his catalogue in his side’s 2-1 Group F opening win against Czech Republic.

Ronaldo appeared to be on course to surpass Lothar Matthaus’ record of being the oldest outfield player at the Euros, set in 2000.

When Matthaus played in Germany’s last Group A match against Portugal, he was 39 years and 91 days old. Matthaus won the European Championship in 1980 as well as the World Cup in 1990.

And 24 years later, at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, veteran center-back Pepe smashed that record at the age of 41 years and 113 days after being included in Roberto Martinez’s starting lineup.

By achieving this, Pepe has also broken goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly’s record, which he set for Hungary against Belgium in 2016 at the age of 40 and 86 days, to become the oldest player in the tournament.

Ronaldo, who is currently competing against Pepe to become the oldest goal scorer in the history of the sport, is 39 years and 133 days old.

Ivica Vastic, an ex-Austria international who scored at Euro 2008 at the age of 38 years and 257 days, now holds that record.

On the plus side, Ronaldo became the first player to play in six European Championships with his debut versus Czech Republic.

He had made history at Euro 2020 by becoming the first player to appear in five championships, but Luka Modric of Croatia tied him after the team’s loss to Spain on Saturday.

But Ronaldo, who has now featured in 11 major tournaments, is now once again the sole record holder.

He has also extended his record of featuring in the most games with 26.

Ronaldo has found the back of the net in each of his five Euros appearances since Euro 2004 – another record of his own he could extend should he score in a sixth in Germany.

And this would see him add to his record 14 goals at the Euros, with the five-time Champions League winner looking to win back-to-back Golden Boot awards.

“I fondly remember my first day with the national team, a journey full of challenges and victories. Now, I have the honour of being alongside a team of champions, full of talent and determination. With everyone’s strength and support, we turn dreams into reality. Let’s, together, fight for another triumph. United, we are unstoppable. Go Portugal.”

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