Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has secured his place in the history books after he became the club’s record scorer in La Liga with a five-goal haul at Espanyol on Saturday, according to coach Rafa Benitez.
The Portugal captain and FIFA Ballon d’Or holder, who put five past Granada in La Liga last term, was unstoppable at Espanyol’s Cornella-El Prat stadium and Karim Benzema was also on the score sheet as Real romped to a 6-0 victory.
Ronaldo has netted a remarkable 230 goals in only 203 appearances for Real since moving to Spain’s top flight from Manchester United in 2009, two more than the club’s former striker Raul, who needed 550 games to amass 228 goals.
The 30-year-old from Madeira is up to fourth on the list of all-time top scorers in La Liga behind Hugo Sanchez (Real, 234 goals), Telmo Zarra (Athletic Bilbao, 253) and great rival Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 285).
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Benitez told a news conference.
“Someone who scores so many goals definitely has a place in the history books,” he added.
“I hope that he can continue to add to his goalscoring account for his own benefit and that of the team.”
Ronaldo had not scored in Real’s first two La Liga games of the campaign but his spectacular return to form bodes well for the club’s Champions League Group A opener at home to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
While lauding Ronaldo, Benitez said there was still room for improvement in the team.
“You have to really put an emphasis on the five goals and the fact that he could have scored more,” Benitez said.
“Despite that, we need to keep working because there are things to be improved.”