Ronaldo bears down on Raul as Real Madrid's all-time best

AFP , Friday 18 Sep 2015

Real Madrid's Ronaldo celebrates his second goal during their Champions League soccer match against Shakhtar Donetsk at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid (Photo: Reuters)

Another piece of Real Madrid history awaits Cristiano Ronaldo as he can become the club's all-time leading scorer when they host Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Ronaldo is officially just two goals shy of Raul Gonzalez Blanco's 323-goal record despite having played over 400 games fewer than the Spanish legend.

However, the club claim he is just one goal behind Raul as they credited Ronaldo with a goal back in 2010 that was awarded to Pepe in the referee's report.

The World Player of the Year has struck eight times in his last two games to categorically silence the critics for his slow start to the campaign as he failed to score in either of Madrid's opening two La Liga fixtures or in two games for Portugal.

Ronaldo hit five goals in the same game for the second time in five months in a 6-0 rout at Espanyol last weekend and Granada will be fearing the worst as they were the previous recipients of a five-goal haul in a 9-1 humiliation at the Bernabeu back in April.

"I am happy, it is a proud moment for me to be in this position," Ronaldo said after netting his 33rd hat-trick for the club against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek.

"I have to thank the team, they helped me a huge amount.

"Before I was bad and now I am good because I have scored eight goals," he added in a thinly veiled dig at his critics.

"My teammates believe in me, they give me the service with which I scored goals."

Ronaldo will, though, be devoid of some of Madrid's key creators with Gareth Bale having joined James Rodriguez on the sidelines due to injury.

Bale suffered a calf injury in the 4-0 win over Shakhtar and will be sidelined for at least two weeks.

Madrid are also likely to be without Sergio Ramos due to a dislocated shoulder, but Raphael Varane should be fit to partner Pepe in defence after recovering from the ankle knock he picked up in midweek.

Victory can take Real to the top of the table for 24 hours as league leaders Barcelona aren't in action till Sunday when they host Levante.

The Catalans' already short squad will have to do without midfielder Rafinha for the rest of the season as he suffered cruciate ligament damage in a 1-1 draw with Roma on Wednesday.

Barca boss Luis Enrique will also be without defenders Gerard Pique, Thomas Vermaelen and Daniel Alves, as well as goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

Atletico Madrid lost their perfect start to the season when Barca won 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon last weekend, but Diego Simeone's men recovered well to get their Champions League campaign off to a winning start at Galatasaray on Tuesday.

Los Rojiblancos visit Eibar on Saturday hoping to end the Basque minnows unbeaten start to the start to the season.

At the other end of the table, Sevilla are looking to add their first league win of the campaign backed by the confidence of a resounding 3-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach in midweek.

Valencia were the only one of Spain's five Champions League participants to get off to a losing start as a Hulk brace handed Zenit St Petersburg a thrilling 3-2 win at Mestalla.

Los Che will be hoping for better fortune at home to Real Betis on Saturday.

Meanwhile, for David Moyes's Real Sociedad just scoring a goal is the aim when they host Espanyol after failing to do so in their first three games of the season.

Fixtures (all times GMT)


Getafe v Malaga (1830)


Real Madrid v Granada (1400), Valencia v Real Betis (1615), Eibar v Atletico Madrid (1830), Real Sociedad v Espanyol (2200)


Sevilla v Celta Vigo (1000), Deportivo la Coruna v Sporting Gijon (1400), Villarreal v Athletic Bilbao (1615), Las Palmas v Rayo Vallecano (1830), Barcelona v Levante (1830)

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