Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Raúl González

Raúl González Blanco (born 27 June 1977 in Madrid, Spain), known simply as Raúl, is a Spanish footballer who plays as a striker. He currently plays for German club Schalke 04. Raúl had spent most of his career playing for Spanish club Real Madrid and is the club's all-time top goalscorer. Raúl is a three-time winner of the UEFA Champions League and has long been the competition's all-time leading goalscorer. He left Real Madrid on 25 July 2010, having scored 323 goals in 741 appearances, and joined Schalke.

He started his professional career in the 1994–95 season with Real Madrid C, he scored 13 goals in just 7 games and swiftly promoted to the first team by coach Jorge Valdano, replacing the legendary figure of Emilio Butragueño in a highly symbolic "passing of the crown". He became the youngest player (17 years and 124 days) ever to play for the senior side, (a record subsequently broken by Alberto Rivera later that season).

He became the first player to score fifty Champions League goals when he netted in a 2–1 group stage win over Olympiacos on 28 September 2005, and continues to be the all-time leader in appearances (128). He was also the first player to score in two Champions League finals, netting in the finals of both 2000 against Valencia in Stade de France, Saint-Denis and 2002 against Bayer Leverkusen in Hampden Park, Glasgow. Samuel Eto'o later equaled this feat, scoring in the 2006 against Arsenal and in 2009 against Manchester United with Lionel Messi also scoring in the same match and later in 2011 against the same team.

In European play, Raúl has since become the highest goal scorer in all UEFA competitions with 73 goals, ahead of A.C. Milan veteran Filippo Inzaghi with 70 goals. He scored 71 goals in UEFA Champions League (66 goals with Real Madrid and 5 with Schalke 04) and addition his two goals with the capital side, one goal in 2000 UEFA Super Cup and the other one in 1998 Intercontinental Cup (also commonly referred to as EUSA Cup). On 22 October 2010, the former Spanish international scored twice against Hapoel Tel Aviv in a 3–1 win, which tied him with German legend Gerd Müller for the most number of European goals. Raúl duly broke this record on 15 February 2011 on his return to Spain, with a crucial away goal in the last 16 tie against Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium in a 1–1 draw. In the quarter-finals, Raúl scored two goals against Internazionale. He scored one goal in the first leg, a 2–5 away win in San Siro and one goal in the second leg, a 2–1 home win in Veltins-Arena. Schalke progressed to the semi-finals of the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history, where they played against Manchester United. Schalke lost the first game 0–2, which was their first home defeat this season in this tournament and lost again 4–1 in Old Trafford; despite that defeat Raúl considered it an honor that he swapped shirts with Ryan Giggs. On 19 November 2011, he captained Schalke 04 for the first time due to an injury of Benedikt Höwedes in a 4–0 home win against 1. FC Nuremberg, he also scored the 2–0 and assisted the 4–0 in that game.

No comments: