Cats ponder McFadden return

Cristiano Ronaldo has set his sights on becoming Real Madrid’s
all-time record goalscorer after moving up to joint sixth in the
club’s charts with his hat-trick against Sevilla at the
weekend.

The Portugal international took his tally of hat-tricks for
Madrid to an incredible 20 in the 4-1 win and continued his
phenomenal scoring form for the Spanish giants.

Ronaldo has netted 182 goals in just 179 official matches for
Madrid since his world-record ?80million move from Manchester
United in 2009, moving him level with Gento on the club’s all-time
list.

Next in the firing line for the 28-year-old is Hugo Sanchez (208
goals) followed by Ferenc Puskas (242), Carlos Santillana (290) and
Alfredo Di Stefano (308).

Top of the list is Raul, who scored 323 times in 741 matches
before leaving Madrid in 2010, and it is that tally that Ronaldo is
eyeing.

He told his club’s website: “It’s an honour to be one of these
legendary scorers and to be one of the top-scorers. To make this
list in the short time I’ve been with the club, to see my name
associated with these players is a reason to be proud, motivated
and happy.

“I’ve always said that records are made to be broken, not just
by myself but by the next generation of players.

“I’m happy to have beaten these records and I’m happy to have
reached these numbers. What I want more than anything is to keep on
going and try for first place.”

That suggests Ronaldo sees his long-term future at the club,
something that has been a matter of debate in recent months.

Emilio Butragueno, who is eighth on the list with 171 goals and
is now a director at the club, certainly hopes the Portuguese ace
remains at the Bernabeu for many years to come.

He said: “Cristiano Ronaldo is amazing. We’re extremely proud
that he plays for Real. His ambition is perhaps one of his greatest
virtues. He wants to get better and he takes each game as if it’s a
personal challenge.

“Having a player that guarantees a goal per game is a problem
for rivals because it means that they have to score two to win.
Very few teams throughout history can claim the same.

“I hope he stays that way for years because he’s very important
to us.”

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The Scotland international joined the Black Cats last year on a
short-term deal, but that came to an end in January.

O’Neill was keen to keep him, but he did not stand in his way
when Alex McLeish at Nottingham Forest showed an interest and was
ready to offer him a long-term deal.

However, McLeish failed to finalise a deal with McFadden and has
since left the City Ground – so a move back to Sunderland is on the
cards.

Black Cats boss O’Neill confirmed to the Sunderland Echo: “We
let James’ situation run past the transfer deadline and I think he
went down to Nottingham Forest before McLeish departed.

“But obviously events have changed that situation and I don’t
know what’s happened since then.

“I’ll speak to the agent though and see where we stand.”

As 29-year-old McFadden is a free agent, he can re-join
Sunderland outside the window.