Raul Gonzalez Blanco has said Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo deserve a place in football’s hall of fame after surpassing him as the most prolific scorer in the Champions League. Messi moved on to 75 goals in Europe’s elite club competition during the group stage, with Ronaldo only two behind him.
That means both have bettered Raul’s 71-goal haul, amassed for Real Madrid and Schalke, and he told La Gazetta dello Sport: “They are two of the best players in the history of football, like Pele and Maradona.
“I also think Neymar and [Sergio] Aguero will overtake me sooner or later. As for Italy, the best player in history is [Alessandro] Del Piero. I not only have respect for him, but also lots of affection.”
Ronaldo has scored 25 goals in 15 league games this season — three short of Messi’s record of 28 for the first half of a domestic season and almost double the Argentine’s haul of 13 this term — and his form is one of the reasons why Champions League holders Real are on course for more silverware this season.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TOP SCORERS
1. Lionel Messi – 74 (91 games) – Barcelona
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – 72 (109) – Man Utd, Real Madrid
3. Raul – 71 (142) – Real Madrid, Schalke 04
4. Ruud van Nistelrooy – 56 (73) – PSV, Man Utd, Real Madrid
5. Thierry Henry – 50 (112) – Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona
Another is coach Carlo Ancelotti, who steered the side to a record 20th win in a row at Almeria on Friday to open up a five-point lead at the top of La Liga.
“I rate him highly,” Raul said. “He’s doing a great job. He won the Champions League — the Decima — in his first year, and he has a great relationship with the players.
“They’ve found a balance at a really high level, and they’re going at a rate of knots this season.
“I just hope they can keep it up because we’re only at mid-December. I’m sure they can go on to win all the trophies available.”
He said he felt only German champions Bayern Munich could stop them from doing that, adding: “Pep Guardiola’s doing a great job too, and Bayern are going to be Real’s No. 1 rival for the Champions League.”