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Raúl González Blanco (born 27 June 1977 in Madridmarker, Spainmarker), usually known simply as Raúl, is a Spanish football forward who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid for whom he is the all-time leading goalscorer. He is a three-time winner of the UEFA Champions League and has long been the competition's all-time leading goal scorer. He has also scored more goals (44) for the Spanish national team than any player in history.

Real Madrid

Raúl González
Raúl has spent his entire club career with Madrid, with whom he has won six Spanish league titles. Although he started out with cross-town rivals Atlético Madrid, he began the 1994-95 season in Madrid's C-team, but was promoted to first team status by coach Jorge Valdano after impressing with sixteen goals in nine games. He became the youngest player (seventeen years and four months) ever to play for the senior side, scoring in his second senior game against derby rivals Atlético Madrid. In all, Raúl registered nine goals in 28 appearances to help Real Madrid win the 1994-95 league championship in his first season. Over the next eight seasons, he won several honours, including another three La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues. For most of this time, Raúl struck up a prolific scoring partnership with Fernando Morientes (and later, Ronaldo). Raúl took over the captaincy of Real Madrid when Fernando Hierro retired in 2003, a responsibility he holds to this day. Unusually for such a successful and long-serving player, and despite appearing in two finals, 2002 (in which he scored) and 2004, Raúl has never won the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup).

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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 both Champions League goals (66) and appearances (128). He was also the first player to score in two Champions League finals, netting in the finals of both 2000 vs. Valencia in Parismarker, and 2002 vs. Bayer Leverkusen in Glasgowmarker. Samuel Eto'o later accomplished this feat, scoring in the 2006 final against Arsenal and in 2009 against Manchester United.

Raúl holds the distinction of having never received a red card throughout his 15 years at the professional level. On 11 November 2008, Raúl scored his 300th goal for Real Madrid with a hat-trick against Real Unión, with Real winning the game 4-3 but being eliminated on away goals after drawing 6-6 on aggregate. He has scored 321 career goals for Real Madrid, breaking the long-standing club record of Alfredo di Stéfano with a volleyed goal vs. Sporting Gijon on 15 February 2009. He is also the top active La Liga goalscorer with 226 of his 321 goals scored in La Liga matches, and is presently 4th on the all-time list, which is headed by Telmo Zarra with 251 goals. Raúl holds the record of all-time top La Liga scorer for Real Madrid with 226, a record previously held by Alfredo di Stéfano who scored 1 out of an overall La Liga tally of 227 in a Real Madrid shirt, for whom he played between 1953 and 1964.

Raúl and fellow long-serving teammate Iker Casillas were both awarded a 'contract for life' in 2008 - the terms of which stipulate that it will be renewed annually for as long as they play 30 games per season.

On 23 September 2009, Raúl equaled former veteran and legend Manolo Sanchís' league appearance record for Real Madrid, and is now the second in the La Liga behind Andoni Zubizarreta who played 622 games.

International career

Raúl began his rise in the international scene with the youth teams and was chosen to represent Spain at the 1995 FIFA World Youth Championship, scoring 2 goals. He has scored a national record 44 goals in 102 caps for Spain. He is also second in terms of caps won for Spain, with 102. The former captain has made more international appearances for Spain than any other outfield player. Raúl was not chosen for Euro 1996 and had to wait until October 1996 to earn his first senior cap against the Czech Republic. He participated in three World Cups from 1998 to 2006, along with Euro 2000 and Euro 2004, scoring at least one goal in each of the three World Cup competitions. Raúl took over the team captaincy following the retirement of Fernando Hierro in 2002, but has not been chosen for the national team since September 2006, following a shock 3-2 defeat against Northern Ireland in Belfast (a game in which Raúl hit the post late on).

Of his 44 international goals, Raúl scored 25 goals in competitive games, 6 of which were in the finals of major tournaments. In a Euro 2000 qualifier, on 27 March 1999, Raúl scored one of only two international hat-tricks during Spain's 9-0 rout of Austria. Interestingly, another international hat-trick was scored 4 days later, against San Marino during the same qualifying tournament.

Raúl played his last game against Northern Ireland in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, which Spain lost 3-2. However, he was not selected for the actual tournament (which Spain eventually won) as Luis Aragonés preferred Fernando Torres and David Villa. His clubmate and goalkeeper Iker Casillas succeeded him as captain.

He is still available for a call up, since he has yet to formally announce his international retirement. In late 2008, Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque stated that there is still a chance Raúl could be called into the national side once again.[43797] - FIFA.com "Spain door still open for Raúl" However, del Bosque did not choose him for the squad to play in the Confederations Cup in South Africa.

Personal life

For many years, Raúl's goal celebration has consisted of kissing his wedding ring as an acknowledgment to his wife, Spanish model Mamen Sanz, with whom he has four sons and is pregnant with the fifth: Jorge, named after Jorge Valdano; Hugo (after Hugo Sanchez) and twins Héctor (after Héctor Rial) and Mateo, named after German footballer Lothar Matthäus. He enjoys reading, especially the books of Arturo Pérez Reverte, and listening to Spanish music.

Honours

Club



Country



Individual



Orders

  • Royal Order Gold Medal for Sports Merit: 2006


Statistics

Club goals

Last update: 29 November 2009.



Competition statistics



International goals

References

  1. http://www.hindu.com/2005/09/30/stories/2005093007521800.htm
  2. Raúl alcanza los 300 goles
  3. [1]
  4. [2]
  5. Raul and Casillas commit to Real
  6. Sanchís comments on Raúl's record
  7. Raúl mit Einsatzrekord
  8. [3]
  9. SOC: Spain 9 Austria 0 result - AAP Sports News, reprinted on highbeam.com (Partial article)
  10. Das Vorzeigespielerpaar um Raúl González Blanco


External links



1994-95 Real Madrid Primera División 28 9 2 1 - 30 10
1995-96 40 19 2 0 8 6 50 25
1996-97 42 21 5 1 - 47 22
1997-98 35 10 1 0 12 2 48 12
1998-99 37 25 2 0 8 3 47 28
1999-00 34 17 4 0 16 10 54 27
2000-01 36 24 0 0 12 7 48 31
2001-02 35 14 6 6 13 6 54 26
2002-03 31 16 2 0 12 9 45 25
2003-04 35 11 7 6 9 2 51 19
2004-05 32 9 1 0 10 4 43 13
2005-06 27 5 0 0 6 2 33 7
2006-07 34 7 1 0 7 5 42 12
2007-08 37 18 1 0 8 5 46 23
2008-09 37 18 1 3 7 3 45 24
2009-10 12 3 2 0 5 2 19 5
Career total
532 226 37 17 133 66 702+19 309+9

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