Former Real Madrid striker Emilio Butragueno has admitted he would have liked to have played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 49-year-old is now director of institutional relations at the Santiago Bernabeu and saw Ronaldo equal his 123 La Liga goals with a double in the 5-0 victory over Real Mallorca at the weekend.
In an interview with AS, Butragueno described the Portuguese as a ‘phenomenon’ and claimed he will go down in football history.
“Ronaldo is a phenomenon, although I’ve explained to him that the goalscorer in my team was Hugo Sanchez. However, Cristiano is a striker who is out of the ordinary and difficult to define,” said El Buitre.
“He is ambitious with a huge ability to score goals and an immense capacity for hard work.
“Also, he does not care how the scoring goes. If it’s 4-0 he is still looking for the fifth as if it was the first goal. He always wants more.”
He also believes he knows what it is that makes Ronaldo the player he is.
“Cristiano is someone who always wants to be a better player than the day before, and that’s priceless. He is an exemplary professional and I’m not flattering him when I say that.
“Do me or you have that body? He looks after himself really well and spends hours and hours working to get himself into perfect condition. Few people of his age would sacrifice so much to offer what he offers.
“He starts every game with the intention of being the best, but if he has to give a pass to a teammate like he did with [Gonzalo] Higuain when we were winning 3-0 in Palma, then he will happily do so.”
Butragueno feels Ronaldo’s presence at Madrid is vital to the club’s future and explained why he would like to have lined up with the former Manchester United man.
“Having a player who guarantees you will be 1-0 up before the first whistle is unprecedented. I don’t know if we are aware that we are privileged to have him because he has changed the concept of a striker.
“In my day if we scored a hat-trick it was quite an event, but now Cristiano has come along and we just say ‘look, he’s got another hat-trick’. His great strength is that he has made it appear ordinary.”
“I’ll tell you something else. I’d love to have played alongside him because I know I’d have enjoyed it a lot.
“The way he gets away from his marker, his strength in the box, his prodigious speed on the break…I didn’t see [Alfredo] di Stefano or [Ferenc] Puskas but of the ones I have seen Cristiano is the greatest to have pulled on a Real Madrid shirt.”
Commenting on Ronaldo’s on-field behaviour after he gestured to a section of the crowd in the Mallorca clash, Butragueno came out in his defence.
“I think his behaviour has been impeccable. He has had few cards since he has been here, respects referees and never gets involved in scuffles.
“The fans can shout whatever they want but he never loses concentration,” he concluded.