Real Madrid great Raul ranks Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski alongside Erling Haaland as the best strikers in world football.
And with the campaign’s first meeting between Madrid and Barcelona coming on Sunday, Raul hopes Benzema will outdo Lewandowski at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Madrid and Barca are level on 22 points in LaLiga after eight matches, with an enthralling title race seemingly in store after Los Blancos triumphed by 13 points last term.
The arrival of Lewandowski has been key to Barca’s re-emergence, with the Poland international scoring nine times in his first eight outings in LaLiga.
Lewandowski’s ominous start to life in Spain suggests he is likely to surpass Benzema’s league-high tally of 27 league goals from last season.
Raul is full of admiration for both players, ranking them alongside Haaland – the leading scorer in Europe’s top five leagues with 20 goals already to his name for Manchester City – but naturally Madrid talisman Benzema will get the 45-year-old’s backing.
“They are possibly the best strikers, with Haaland. They are the ones who have the most scoring ability and contribute the most to their teams,” said Raul, who is now head coach of Real Madrid Castilla.
“Lewandowski is a great signing for LaLiga, he is showing his quality. But I hope that the battle of scorers on Sunday will be won by Benzema.
“I see it as a very exciting game, as always. They both arrive with the same points. It’s too early [to judge], because it’s in October. Whoever wins will be able to come out stronger mentally.
“It will be a very demanding game and Madrid, playing at home and being with their people, have a bit of favouritism.”
Benzema overtook Raul to go second in Madrid’s all-time scoring charts in August, though his tally of 327 goals remains some way short of Cristiano Ronaldo’s record haul (450).
Meanwhile, Raul’s 15 goals in meetings between Madrid and Barcelona has only been bettered by three players – Lionel Messi (26), Alfredo Di Stefano and Ronaldo (both 18).
With Raul cutting his coaching teeth in Madrid’s youth system, his ambition is to take charge of the senior side in a future Clasico.
He added: “I would like to, but now I am very happy where I am, working with my boys.
“I am happy and I am going to enjoy it as a fan, wanting us to achieve those three points that will not define anything, but will give more confidence and morale to the winner.”
Both teams have Champions League fixtures to focus on before Sunday’s meeting, with Madrid facing Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday before Xavi’s men host Inter the following day