Ildefons Lima Retires At International Level After 26 Years

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Ildefons Lima played his last game for his country Andorra on Tuesday, September 12, and ended 26 years senior career in men’s international football.

Ildefons Lima Retires At International Level After 26 Years

Ildefons Lima, 43, first played for Andorra at the age of 17 in a 4-1 loss to Estonia in 1997, scoring in the nation’s second ever official fixture.

The defender has featured in every decade for his country and on Tuesday, 12th September 2023, he played his final international match which they lost 3-0 to Switzerland.

The FC Andorra B defender played only 23 minutes in the match and was given a standing ovation by Swiss and Andorran supporters as he left the field.

He was substituted by Ricard Fernandez Betriu, a team-mate who was born almost two years after his international debut.

FIFA took to X to congratulate Ildefons Lima, saying: “Congratulations to Andorra’s Ildefons Lima on an incredible journey, the longest national team career ever.”

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Ildefons Lima won the Guinness World Records for the longest international playing career in 2021.

While he holds that of men, former Brazil midfielder Formiga, 45, hold the record for most international matches for the women side.

Lima became Andorra captain over a decade ago, representing a nation that just have a population of about 79,000.

Ildefons Lima has lost over 100 international matches with Andorra and he has won just seven competitive fixtures with the country.

Ildefons Lima Retires At International Level After 26 Years

Lima captained the team that beat Liechtenstein 2-0 in 2022 in the Nations League.

He is the third European footballer to be capped in four different decades, with Welsh international Billy Meredith and Finland’s Jari Litmanen on the top.

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Also this summer, Ildefons Lima became the oldest player to feature in a UEFA European Championship qualifier.

The defender also holds the record for Andorra’s record goalscorer, scoring 11 times for the country with a population of 79,000.

Lima also scored a sixth-minute penalty that gave Andorra a shock lead against Wales in 2014 before Gareth Bale scored a brace to end their hopes.

Ildefons Lima also scored the opener in a 3-1 loss to the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup qualifier in Dublin in 2001.

He was rusticated from the team in 2020 after he called for more Covid-19 testing for players.

But with massive pressure from manager Koldo Alvarez and FIFpro he returned to the side the following year.

At club level, Lima has played for Espanyol, Las Palmas and Rayo Vallecano in Spain and is currently playing for FC Andorra B owned by ex-Spain defender Gerard Pique.

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Ildefons Lima

Ildefons Lima Solà was born on 10th December, 1979 and is an Andorran professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for FC Andorra B.

Lima has played club football in Spain, Greece, Mexico, Italy, Switzerland and Andorra.

Internationally, Lima holds the records for most appearances and most goals for Andorra as of 2023.

Ildefons Lima Retires At International Level After 26 Years

The defender was born in Barcelona, Catalonia to an Andalusian father and a Catalan mother and his family moved to Andorra when he was two months old.

Despite debuting for the Andorra national team when he was 17, Lima became a citizen of the country when he lived there for 20 years.

His older brother, Antoni, was also a footballer and a defender and he also spent most of his career in the lower leagues of Spain, and the pair shared teams at Ionikos.

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