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When Francisco “Gento” Lopez of Real Madrid retired in 1971, he had the distinction of being the clubs’ sixth highest goalscorer of all time, with 182 goals, 12 La Liga Titles and six European Cups spanning a successful athletic career that began in 1952. It was a feat that lesser men could never have achieved, and those who came close were regarded as legends. Now another name has joined the ranks of these Blancos legends, and that name is that of Portuguese attacker Cristiano Ronaldo.
It was during Real Madrid’s match against Sevilla that the 28-year-old cemented his status, after leading the club to a 4-1 victory in a move. He secured his 182nd goal, taking his place alongside Gento in the annals of Real Madrid history after only three and a half years in the club and 179 matches. It took Gento 605 matches before he reached this mark, further proof that he is a force to reckon with.
Gento, now 79, met up with fellow topscorers and Blancos legends “Amancio” Amaro Varela, Emilio “El Buitre” Butragueno Santos, and Jose “Pirri” Martinez Sanchez, and together, they praised Real Madrid’s Ronaldo for achieving so much in such a short time. Given the opportunity, they he would have wanted to share the pitch with the former player from Manchester United.
It was a recognition that Ronaldo does not take lightly. He expressed his gratitude at Gento’s praise, saying that it was a huge thing coming from the only player who has six European Cups to his name.
Ronaldo’s passion for the game and drive to win also keeps El Buitre, currently the director of institutional relations of Real Madrid, motivated. El Buitre, who has also made a name for himself in the game by amassing 171 goals in 463 games throughout his career, is currently entrenched in the ninth spot on the all-time top scorers list.
If it were up to El Buitre, Ronaldo would remain with Real Madrid for years and years to come. He knows the value of having a player that guarantees a goal in every game played, and he lauds Ronaldo for keeping that ambitious streak driving him forward, making each game count. Saying that Ronaldo “is very important” to Reals underscores the pride that he, and the entire Club, takes in having him on their side.
So what’s next for this soccer superstar? There are still so many records to break, and he has set his sights on increasing his goals. Currently, Raul heads the pack with 323 goals achieved in 741 games. At the rate Ronaldo is going, that ranking could be shaken up in the future, and he is the man to do it. For now, he is bent on upping his numbers as he continues to play the sport he loves best.
Ronaldo said, “To see my name associated with these (legendary) players is a reason to be proud, motivated, and happy.” With the belief and support of his club – and the legendary topscorers – behind him, there is no doubt that we will be seeing more records broken by Ronaldo.