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Feb, 12, 2013

Prolific Ronaldo lauded by Real legends

Cristiano Ronaldo's achievement in becoming Real Madrid's sixth-highest all-time goalscorer, in just three-and-a-half years at the club, has been hailed by Blancos legends Paco Gento, Pirri, Emilio Butragueno and Amancio.

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The four men, all in the top ten of all-time scorers at Madrid, were brought together at the Bernabeu on Monday afternoon - three days after Ronaldo's hat-trick in Madrid's 4-1 Primera Division home win over Sevilla lifted him to joint sixth on that list with 182 goals, level with Gento, who won six European Cups and 12 La Liga titles in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Portuguese attacker, taking time out from preparing to face former side Manchester United in Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first leg at the Bernabeu, said he was honoured to have a place on the list with such legendary figures.

"It is an honour to be one of these legendary scorers and to be one of the top-scorers," Ronaldo said "To make this list in the short time I've been with the club, to see my name associated with these players is a reason to be proud, motivated and happy."

The former Manchester United man took just 179 games to reach the mark, Gento took 605. Only Ferenc Puskas, who scored 242 goals in 261 matches (an average of 0.93 goals per game) comes close to Ronaldo's ratio (1.02).

Gento, now 79, said he would have liked to have shared a pitch with the club's current superstar.

"Watching Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch is a delight," he said. "He is a unique player that will mark a period with all of the goals he is scoring. I would have loved to have played with him."

"[That's] Quite an honour coming from the only player to have won six European Cups," Ronaldo responded.

Butragueno, ninth on Madrid's all-time scorers list with 171 in 463 games and now Madrid's director of institutional relations, said Ronaldo's personal ambition kept driving him forward.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is amazing," El Buitre said. "We are extremely proud that he plays for Real. His ambition is perhaps one of his greatest virtues. He wants to get better and he takes each game as if it is a personal challenge. Having a player that guarantees a goal per game is a problem for rivals because it means that they have to score two to win. "Very few teams throughout history can claim the same. I hope he stays that way for years because he is very important to us."

The top ten list is headed by Raul, with 323 goals in 741 games. Ronaldo said he had that mark already in sight.

"I have always said that records are made to be broken, not just by myself but by the next generation of players," he said. "I am happy to have beaten these records and I am happy to have reached these numbers. What I want more than anything is to keep on going and try for first place."

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