(Reuters) - Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo is confident he will go down in history as one of the sport’s best players helped by his status as the Champions League’s all-time top scorer.
The three-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner has netted 93 goals in Europe’s elite club competition, including five hat-tricks. His closest rival is Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who is 10 goals behind him in the Champions League scoring charts.
“I don’t doubt that I will go down in soccer history. Whether people like it or not, the numbers speak for themselves. I will be up there with the rest,” Ronaldo, 31, told the UEFA website (www.uefa.com) in an interview.
“Some like it more, some like it less, but I have no doubt that I’m already in the history of football.
“I always felt that I was a special player... I’ve always worked hard, believed in my potential and I’ve developed more and more as a player, as a person, as a human being.”
Ronaldo has 16 Champions League goals this season, the most by any player in a single campaign, which has propelled 10-times European Cup winners Real to a semi-final with Manchester City.
The Portugal international, who missed last week’s goal less first leg, will aim to extend his scoring record on Wednesday when Real and City battle at the Santiago Bernabeu for the right to face Atletico Madrid in the final in Milan on May 28.
“It’s a privilege to know that I’m the leading goal scorer of all time in the Champions League. Obviously, I feel very happy at having achieved that,” the 31-year-old said.
“It’s a special competition and a competition that Real Madrid love. I’ve been lucky enough to win it twice and obviously I want to win it more — hopefully again this year.”
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by Ken Ferris