• Spain and Real Madrid defender target 200 international matches.
• Defender is now level on 167 games with goalkeeper Casillas.
Sergio Ramos has equalled Iker Casillas’ record of 167 caps for Spain as they thrashed the Faroe Islands 4-0 in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Sunday night.
The Real Madrid defender, 33, set his sights on surpassing 200 matches for his country after moving level with his former team-mate for both club and country.
Spain eased to a victory that continues their 100 per cent record in qualifying Group F with two goals apiece from Rodrigo and Paco Alcacer.
Ramos said: “I want to make it difficult for the next player to beat it. It is very difficult to have got to 167 matches for your country. It is a reward and a joy. Many years of working hard to get to this point.”
“I had the fortune to make my debut at a young age and having the confidence of all my managers. Luckily, injuries have respected me and I wish I could defend this badge for a long time to come. Records are there to be broken. I like to go match by match and wake up every day with motivation to get better.”
“I hope to keep this youthful and energetic side of me for as long as possible to extend my record the furthest possible. I wish I could get to 200 matches playing with my country. That is my next objective to achieve.”
Spain all-time leading appearance makers
Ramos has won the World Cup and two European Championships during a highly successful international career. He will surpass the record of goalkeeper Casillas if he features in next month’s qualifiers against Norway and Sweden.
The next highest cap-winner for Spain is the retired Xavi on 133 appearances, while the next highest active player is Sergio Busquets on 114.
A much-changed home line-up struggled to assert themselves and required Alcacer’s late brace to put some gloss on the final scoreline.
Things had looked rather different when the hosts took just 14 minutes to break the deadlock, Mikel Oyarzabal unselfishly squaring for Rodrigo to tap into an empty net. Ramos prodded an effort over the bar in the 21st minute as Spain continued to dominate, with David de Gea rendered a virtual spectator for the first half hour.
In contrast Faroes keeper Gunnar Nielsen was kept busy, saving from Jose Luis Gaya and Thiago before Rodrigo missed his chance of a second when he headed over from close range.
If the Faroes will have been delighted to have reached half-time with just a single-goal deficit, it marked a brief respite before the Spaniards surged forward in a quest to extend their lead. Suso and Rodri came close in the opening minutes of the second half before the seemingly inevitable second goal arrived in the 50th minute, Rodrigo scoring with a fierce deflected shot.
Spain were in cruise control but they almost paid for their complacency in the 73rd minute when a mistake by Ramos allowed Joannes Bjartalid to run through and test De Gea. More pressure paid off in the 89th minute when Alcacer, a 61st-minute replacement for Oyarzabal, flicked home his side’s third after some lovely build-up play. And there was still time for Alcacer to add his second with a header past Nielsen deep into injury time which completed the scoring.