Cristiano Ronaldo could be best player ever, says Raul

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 281 goals in 267 games for Real Madrid

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo could become the best footballer of all time, says former Spain striker Raul.

The New York Cosmos frontman believes Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi are on a par with Brazil great Pele and Argentina legend Diego Maradona.

Ronaldo, 29, was named world player of the year in January.

"I think now he is at the top, and if continues the same way, he could be the best of all time," Raul, 37, told the BBC World Football show.

"I think Cristiano and Lionel Messi are two of the best players in the history of the game. Are they better than Pele or Diego Maradona?

"They are at the top, but I think it is difficult in football to say who is first or second or third. But if Cristiano continues for five years..."

Ronaldo's Real Madrid career in numbers
Ronaldo has scored 23 goals in 13 league games this season, and 281 goals in 267 games for Real Madrid, including 27 hat-tricks
The Portugal international scored 17 goals in last season's Champions League, breaking the previous record of 14 held by Jose Altafini and Lionel Messi

Ronaldo surpassed Raul's total of 71 Champions League goals in the 4-0 victory over Ludogorets Razgrad on Tuesday, and Raul expects his former Real team-mate to break his all-time club record of 323 goals.

"I am sure Ronaldo will beat it and I will be happy for him," he said.

Real set a Spanish record of 19 consecutive wins with their victory on Tuesday, and Raul believes the players are responding to the high expectations of coach Carlo Ancelotti.

"I think Ancelotti is a great coach who has a great relationship with the players, but is also very demanding of them," he said.

"There is a good connection between the coach and that is why you are seeing these results and these performances."

Raul was speaking to BBC World Service's World Football Programme. World Football is a weekly news and interviews programme which tackles the biggest issues in world soccer. The programme is available on BBC iPlayer or as a downloadable podcast.

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