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Ronaldo eyes Der Bomber's record

The German was a great striker but Ronaldo can rewrite WC history. Schedule | Teams | Results | Photos

india Updated: Jun 13, 2006 17:19 IST

Records are made to be broken and in World Cup terms they don't come tumbling down more often than when Brazil are in town.

If the rest of the squad will content themselves with extending their overall title successes to six, Ronaldo, his reputation on the line for being a little more portly than he once was, has something else in his more immediate sights.

Three more goals will mean he becomes the World Cup finals' all-time top goalscorer, moving from his current 12 beyond Germany's Gerd "Der Bomber" Muller's 14.

At a time when the media, and even Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, have wondered aloud if he is still up to it, Ronaldo can cock a snook at his detractors.

He can push Pele off his perch, the latter having signed off after a total of 12 goals in 14 finals appearances - just like the man from Real Madrid.

Blisters and fever are unlikely to keep the 29-year-old, who has 58 goals to his name in 91 internationals, going into the finals from bagging the one strike, preferably against Croatia on Tuesday in Berlin, that would move him ahead of Pele.

That would leave only Just Fontaine of France, who scored 13 in the 1958 tournament to earn the nickname Monsieur Dynamite, to overhaul.

On Sunday, Ronaldo told FIFA's official World Cup website that he was raring to go and promised his ambition was burning as brightly as ever.

"We can get better. Our aim is to win the Cup. We did play very well in 2002, but its now a case of matching that level of performance, taking our chances, and trying to emulate what we did back then," he said.

On overtaking Muller, he added that was also in his mind.

"For me personally, its important, but what is more important is how the team does.

"Of course, I will be delighted if I do break the record, but its not my number one priority."

He added that "as a footballer you always have something to prove."

Displaying a touch of modesty, Ronaldo added that among strikers appearing at the finals he most admired teammate Adriano "because he is strong, skilful and he has got a great shot."

Pele, meanwhile, backed Ronaldo to set a new goalscoring mark.

"He has a great chance to write his name into the record books, he can beat Gerd Muller's record of 14 goals.

"Muller was a wonderful striker but Ronaldo and Brazil can write World Cup history together.

"If he is fit and healthy Brazil have a great chance of winning the title.

"He is so close now and it would be an honour to see a Brazilian player with the (goalscoring) record," Pele said in an interview with Bild Am Sonntag newspaper.