Raul and Di Stefano, joint legends
Real Madrid striker Raul struck his 307th goal in competitive matches for Los Merengues against Numancia this weekend to draw level with fellow Real and world football icon Alfredo di Stefano as the club's all-time top scorer.
"To draw level with Alfredo is great and I hope to be able to beat the record in the next few games. This has been possible because I play for Real Madrid and have had so many good team-mates who have helped me," said Raul after matching La Saeta Rubia's long-standing tally.
Los Blancos' No7 has taken just over 14 years to match Di Stefano's achievement, a goalscoring trail that began way back on 5 November 1994 when a 17-year-old Raul scored his first goal for the club in a Madrid derby against Atletico. Raul has now hit a remarkable 214 goals in the league (in 503 games), 64 in the UEFA Champions League, 18 in the Copa del Rey, seven in the Spanish Supercup, one in the UEFA Super Cup, one in the Toyota/Intercontinental Cup and two in the FIFA Club World Cup.
"I could never have imagined this when I first started out. It seemed to be an impossible feat. I'm hoping to keep scoring more goals for the good of the club," said Raul in the days leading up to Saturday's match in Soria. "If and when I achieve it I'll think of him (Di Stefano) because he's a symbol, a Real Madrid institution, who was one of the best in the world."
Di Stefano, currently Honorary President of Real Madrid, scored his 307 goals during the club's golden period between 1953 and 1964. Over that 11-year spell the Argentinian-born goalgetter found the net 216 times in the league (in 282 matches), 49 times in the European Champions Clubs' Cup as well as firing 39 goals in the Copa del Rey, two in the Copa Latina and one in the Toyota/Intercontinental Cup.
After watching Raul equal his record when scoring the opener for Juande Ramos' side in their 2-0 away win, Di Stefano had this to say: "Raul can reach the 400 or 450-goal mark. He's still young, he's only 31 years old. He can keep playing until he's 37 or 38."