Raul's sights on Di Stefano record
© AFP

Raul now stands joint second, along with Carlos Alonso Santillana, in the Real Madrid's all-time scorer list after scoring his 290th goal for the club in their 3-1 win over Sevilla on Sunday.

It was Raul's 16th goal of a fantastic season and he is now just 17 goals from equalling legendary Alfredo di Stefano's record mark of 307.

Raul, 30, is also hunting di Stefano's league record of 216 league goals which he netted between 1953 and 1964, needing 13 more to equal the great Argentine.

Raul's goal helped Real open a six-point lead over Villarreal, with Barcelona a point further back, at the top of the Spanish first division with Gonzalo Higuain and Gabriel Heinze also on target.

"Raul is a symbol of the club and an extraordinary player," said Real president Ramon Calderon. "I am thrilled for him and he deserves all the credit that comes his way."

Sporting director Pedrag Mijatovic used to play alongside Raul in attack and saluted the club captain for his achievements.

"Raul is having a great season," said Mijatovic. "He is a great captain and a real leader on and off the pitch. I know him from the time we played together at Real and he deserves everything for his attitude and hard work."

Since making his Real debut back in October 1994 as a raw 17-year-old Raul has become a symbol of the club which in turn has handed him a bumper contract until 2011 that will be extended for a year each as long as he plays at least 30 official games.

The striker has every club medal to his name with three Champions League crowns (1998, 2000 and 2002) and five Spanish championships (1995, 1997, 2001, 2003 and 2007).

He was the league's top scorer in 1998/1999 with 25 goals and repeated that feat in 2000/01 with 24. Raul's worst season was in 2005/06 with just five league goals.

The clamour for Raul to return to the Spain squad continues but hardline national coach Luis Aragones has insisted on leaving the veteran out in the cold.

Raul won the last of his 102 caps in September 2006 when Spain suffered an embarrassing 3-2 loss in Northern Ireland. The striker has said he would love to go to UEFA EURO 2008 this summer but has already admitted his chances are slim.

"I know that it is really very complicated and difficult for me (to take part), but I still have hope," Raul said.