The player most associated with Real's glittering success turned 83 years old yesterday but he has competition from the most expensive signing in football history.
Ronaldo, who was signed from Manchester United for 80 million pounds (C$152 million), was quoted as telling sports daily Marca on Sunday:
"Some day I would like to have a winning record similar to Alfredo di Stefano."
What will Ronaldo have to do to supplant the legend?
He will have to win 5 Championship titles on the trot and 8 Liga titles. The last four coming consecutively. In addition, his personal contribution will have to go up tremendously as Di Stefano scored 307 all time goals in 396 appearances which is good enough only for second place in Real's history. Di Stefano also won five Pichichi titles, four of them consecutively.
A tall order and most likely impossible to attain. He could then try and emulate others, as Real has no shortage of sporting heroes. How about the captain of the present squad? He should be an inspiration to Ronaldo.
Raul with his longevity has scored 316 goals in 712 apperances to lead Real in all time scoring as well as appearances. He has won the Pichichi twice. His prolific partnerships with Fernando Morientes and later with Ronaldo have led to six Liga titles. Raul's record 66 goals in UEFA competitions have been key to the club winning the CL three times in his stellar career. Not shabby at all.
When we talk about Real, we also talk about other great strikers like Ferenc Puskas, Pahiño, Carlos Santillana, Hugo Sanchez, Ivan Zamorano, Emilio Butragueno, and even the Brazilian Ronaldo. Puskas won the Pichichi four times as did Hugo Sanchez. The Mexican striker also holds the record for the most goals scored with 38 goals scored in a single Liga season. He formed an unbeatable striker tandem with Emilio Butragueno leading the Merengues to five consecutive Liga titles. Spanish football is littered with the contributions of Real's players.
So Ronaldo might be wiser to seek others to emulate but Di Stefano's record is probably off limits.