R is for...

uefa.com's A to Z countdown to the UEFA Champions League continues with some righteous Rs.

As uefa.com Action's A to Z countdown to the UEFA Champions League final on 25 May continues, it is time for some great Rs.

Real Madrid CF's Raúl González narrowly missed out on reaching another goalscoring landmark this season. Madrid's exit in the round of sixteen leaves the competition's top scorer stuck on forty-nine goals, one short of an unprecedented 50 Champions League strikes.

Born in the capital, Raúl started out with Club Atlético de Madrid, but switched to Madrid in time to make his debut as a substitutes for club hero Emilio Butragueño at the age of 17. For some, that marked the point when the baton for Madrid goalscoring was passed from one legend to another.

While eleven goals in 35 Spanish Primera División games and two in the Champions League marked an indifferent return for a player of Raúl's potency, the young striker has had a habit of saving goals for big occasions, scoring in Madrid's Champions League final successes of 1999/00 and 2001/02.

Raúl shares his initial with his Madrid strike partner Ronaldo who, along with Romario, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, completes a Brazilian quartet who have lit up Champions League football since the competition's inception in 1992/93, bringing outrageous skill to European football.

Romario, who shone for PSV Eindhoven before leading FC Barcelona to the 1993/94 Champions League final, finally retired this season after an emotional friendly game between Brazil and Guatemala, but Rivaldo - who also starred for Barça - is still in action in Greece with Olympiacos CFP.

The midfield player started his European career with RC Deportivo La Coruña before moving to the Camp Nou, but won his only Champions League crown at AC Milan in 2002/03. However, the Brazilian only scored one goal in that campaign and was an unused substitute in the final against Juventus FC.

Ronaldinho, signed from Paris Saint-Germain FC for €32m in July 2003, is Barça's current Brazilian wizard, and his reputation in Spain is now rivalling that of Ronaldo, who was a goalscoring phenomenon with PSV Eindhoven and FC Internazionale Milano before joining Madrid.

The four big Brazilian Rs may yet be joined by another as Santos FC youngster Robinho has been billed by Brazil legend Pelé as the brightest talent in Brazil. Chelsea FC, Real Madrid CF, AC Milan, FC Bayern München and Barça are all keeping tabs on him. Expect to see him in the Champions League soon.

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