Raúl (footballer)

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Raul Gonzalez 10mar2007.jpg
Raúl playing for Real Madrid in an El Clásico match against Barcelona in 2007
Personal information
Full name Raúl González Blanco
Date of birth (1977-06-27) 27 June 1977 (age 38)
Place of birth Madrid, Spain
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
New York Cosmos
Number 7
Youth career
1987–1990 San Cristóbal
1990–1992 Atlético Madrid
1992–1994 Real Madrid
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994 Real Madrid C 7 (16)
1994 Real Madrid B 1 (0)
1994–2010 Real Madrid 550 (228)
2010–2012 Schalke 04 66 (28)
2012–2014 Al Sadd 39 (11)
2015– New York Cosmos 23 (6)
National team
1994 Spain U18 2 (4)
1995 Spain U20 5 (3)
1995–1996 Spain U21 9 (8)
1996 Spain U23 4 (2)
1996–2006 Spain 102 (44)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:27, 22 September 2015 (UTC).

† Appearances (goals)
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is González and the second or maternal family name is Blanco.

Raúl González Blanco (Spanish pronunciation: [raˈul ɣonˈθaleθ ˈβlaŋko]) (born 27 June 1977), known as Raúl, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for American club New York Cosmos as a striker. Raúl was born in the San Cristóbal de los Ángeles neighborhood of Madrid where he played for the local youth team before moving to the Atlético Madrid youth team. He later moved to Real Madrid's youth academy and played at its various levels. In 1994, he signed his first professional contract with the fourth division team Real Madrid C and then was swiftly promoted to the first division team.

Considered one of the most important players in the history of Real Madrid, Raúl is regarded to be one of the greatest Spanish players of all time.[2][3][4] He spent 16 years of his career playing for Real Madrid and is the club's second all-time top goalscorer with 323 goals. [5] Raúl is also the most capped player in the history of the club with 741 appearances, ahead of Sanchís. With los Blancos, he won six La Liga titles, three UEFA Champions League titles, scoring in two finals, four Supercopa de España titles, one UEFA Super Cup and two Intercontinental Cup. He is the third highest goalscorer in Champions League history, behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and the second most capped player, behind Ryan Giggs. In 2003, he was appointed captain of the team and retained that position until his departure from the club in 2010.

In La Liga competitions, Raúl is the fifth highest goal scorer in the history of the tournament with 228 goals, behind Lionel Messi, Telmo Zarra and fellow Real Madrid legend's Hugo Sánchez and Cristiano Ronaldo. He is also the highest Spanish scorer in European leagues, with 256 goals, scoring 228 goals in La Liga and 28 goals in the Bundesliga. Moreover, he is the second most capped player in the history of the Spanish competition, with 550 games played, just behind Andoni Zubizarreta (622 games). Leaving Real Madrid in 2010 and signing for Schalke 04, he scored the 400th goal of his career in February 2012.[6] He signed with the Qatari team Al Sadd in 2012. He won the Qatar Stars League in his first season and he reached 1,000 games played in his career.[7]

Though he did not win any major competitions while playing for the Spanish national football team, he scored a then-record 44 goals in 102 appearances for la Roja, appearing in three FIFA World Cups and two European championships. Raúl took over the captaincy of the side in 2002 and held it until 2006, the year in which he played his last international match for Spain.

Raúl was named the best striker in the world by IFFHS in 1999, and is the only player to be named UEFA Club Forward of the Year three times, in 2000, 2001 and 2002.[8] He was the second in the Ballon d'Or 2001 and ranked third in the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year.[9] In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players, and was included in the UEFA list of the fifty best European players of the 1954–2004 period. He was part of the European Team Of The Year of European Sports Media in 1997, 1999 and 2000.[10] Raúl won two Pichichi trophies (1999 and 2001), the top goalscorer award of the UEFA Champions League (2000 and 2001), five Don Balón Awards (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002) and one Best Player Award at the Intercontinental Cup in 1998.

Club career[edit]

Youth clubs[edit]

Raúl's career began at his local team CD San Cristóbal de los Ángeles playing for their Alevín team and the Infantil the next season.[11][12] He signed with Atlético Madrid's Infantil team and won a national title with the Cadete team the following season. Following Atlético's then-president Jesús Gil decision to close their youth academy as a cost-saving measure, Raúl moved on to Real Madrid's Cadete team in La Fabrica. The following season, he was promoted to the Juvenil C team and subsequently went on to play for their Juvenil B and Juvenil A team.[13]

Real Madrid[edit]

Raúl wore the #7 shirt for Real Madrid between 1996 and 2010.[14]

He started his professional career in the 1994–95 season with Real Madrid C; he scored 13 goals in just seven games and was swiftly promoted to the first team by coach Jorge Valdano, replacing Emilio Butragueño in a symbolic "passing of the crown." He became the youngest player – 17 years and 124 days – ever to play for the senior side, though the record was broken by Alberto Rivera later that same season. On 29 October 1994, in an away game against Real Zaragoza at La Romareda, he created a goal for strike partner Iván Zamorano, heralding the demise of Butragueño in the process. The very next week, Raúl scored his first goal in his second senior game on a home debut against Madrid rivals and former youth club Atlético Madrid in a bitter derby match. Duly establishing himself as a fixture in the first team, Raúl registered a total of nine goals in 28 appearances to help Real Madrid win the 1994–95 league championship in his first season.

With Real Madrid, he won several honours, including further La Liga titles in 1996–97 (scoring 21 La Liga goals), 2000–01 (scoring 24 La Liga goals), and 2002–03 (scoring 16 La Liga goals in a campaign truncated by a bout of appendicitis for which Raúl was hospitalized). During the period from 1998 to 2002, Raúl and Real Madrid also won three UEFA Champions League trophies in 1998, 2000, and 2002. 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 was transferred in 2003, a responsibility he held until leaving the club in 2010. Despite appearing in two finals, in 2002 (in which he scored) and 2004, Raúl never lifted the Copa del Rey.

Raúl being substituted by Cristiano Ronaldo during a match in November 2009. Ronaldo would wear the #7 jersey at Real Madrid after Raúl's departure in 2010.

He became the first player to score 50 Champions League goals when he netted in a 2–1 group stage win over Olympiacos on 28 September 2005,[15] and continues to be the all-time leader in appearances, with 128.[16] He was also the first player to score in two Champions League finals, netting in the finals of both 2000 against Valencia CF in the 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.

Raúl holds the distinction of having never received a red card throughout his 17 years at the professional level.[17] 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 draw 6–6 on aggregate.[18] In total, Raúl scored 323 goals for Real Madrid, breaking the long-standing club record of Alfredo Di Stéfano (307) with a volleyed goal against Sporting de Gijón on 15 February 2009. He is presently fourth on the all-time list of La Liga goalscorers, behind Argentine Lionel Messi, Spaniard Telmo Zarra and Mexican Hugo Sánchez.[19]

Raúl in his last match with Real Madrid against Real Zaragoza

Raúl and fellow long-serving teammate Iker Casillas were both awarded "contracts for life" in 2008 (the terms of which stipulate that it will be renewed annually for as long as they play 30 games each season).[20] On 23 September 2009, Raúl equalled former veteran and legend Manolo Sanchís' league appearance record for Real Madrid,[21] and is second in La Liga behind Andoni Zubizarreta, who played 622 games.

Raúl's last touch with the ball as Real Madrid player before an injury ruled him out of action for the rest of that season was to score his last goal, an opening goal scored on 24 April 2010 in a 2–1 away victory against Real Zaragoza in La Romareda, coincidentally the stadium where he made his debut in 1994. It was scored in the 50th minute after Raúl (himself only on the pitch as a substitute for Rafael van der Vaart after 15 minutes) had signalled that he could not physically continue and was prepared to be substituted by Karim Benzema one minute after the goal.[22] Before the substitution could be made, Real Madrid launched a counter-attack to create a goal. Though Raúl ran to a slow hobble, he shuffled into the box and was able to poke the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo's cross.

Having spent the rest of the season recovering from that injury, the club confirmed on 25 July 2010 that Raúl would be leaving the club, a day after his teammate Guti confirmed he was also leaving after a 15-year spell.[23]

Schalke 04[edit]

Raúl in a training session with Schalke 04 in August 2011

Raúl signed a two-year contract with Schalke 04 on 28 July 2010. Schalke coach Felix Magath hailed the signing and told the club website,"It's great news for FC Schalke 04, I am pleased that we have succeeded in signing such an exceptional footballer and world-class striker switching to the Bundesliga for Schalke 04."[24] Previously, it was expected that Raúl would have finished off his career in the United States or Qatar and he also received a lucrative offer from an unnamed Russian club. Raúl chose Schalke because they made it to the Champions League for the 2010–11 season.[25]

Raúl scored his first goal for the club during his first match on 1 August 2010 with a brace in a 3–1 victory over Bayern Munich in the final match pre-season competition LIGA total! Cup 2010. One week later, he made his competitive debut in the 2010 DFL-Supercup on 7 August 2010 against Bayern Munich again, but this time he failed to score in the 2–0 defeat. Raúl made his Bundesliga debut on 21 August 2010 in a 2–1 defeat against Hamburger SV.[26] and scored his first goal for Schalke in Bundesliga against Borussia Mönchengladbach on 25 September 2010 in a 2–2 draw.[27] After a quiet start, he rediscovered his goalscoring form in the Bundesliga with a brace against St. Pauli on 5 November 2010 in a 3–0 win, and on 20 November 2010, he scored his first hat-trick for the club in a 4–0 win over Werder Bremen. On 18 December, he scored his second hat-trick for Schalke in a 3–0 win against FC Köln.

Raúl with Schalke in 2011

Raúl scored another crucial goal on 2 March 2011 in a 1–0 victory over the arch-rival Bayern Munich in the semi-final of 2010–11 DFB-Pokal. After being absent for six years, Schalke ultimately reached the finals since 2005. In the final match, they played against MSV Duisburg, the first 2. Bundesliga team which reached the final since 2004. Raúl never won a domestic cup with Real Madrid (the Copa del Rey), but on 21 May 2011, in his first season, he finally won a domestic cup and got his maiden trophy with his new club. They won the tournament with a 5–0 win in the Olympiastadion in Berlin. This success was followed with victory two months later on 23 July 2011 in the 2011 DFL-Supercup against the league champions and rivals Borussia Dortmund.

In European play, Raúl has since become the highest goal scorer in all UEFA competitions with 73 goals, ahead of Milan veteran Filippo Inzaghi with 70 goals. He scored 71 goals in Champions League (66 goals with Real Madrid and five with Schalke 04) and addition his two goals with Los Blancos, 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 CF at the Mestalla in a 1–1 draw.

In the quarter-finals, Raúl scored two goals against Internazionale. Raúl scored one goal in the first leg, a 5–2 away win in the San Siro and one goal in the second leg, a 2–1 home win in Arena AufSchalke (official name: 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 2–0, 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.[25] On 19 November 2011, he captained Schalke for the first time due to an injury of Benedikt Höwedes in a 4–0 home win against 1. FC Nürnberg; he also scored the second goal and assisted the fourth in that game.

Raúl scored another hat-trick against Werder Bremen on 17 December 2011.[28] The goals came in a 5–0 win that cemented Schalke's position in third place going into the winter break.[29] On 19 February 2012, he scored the 400th goal of his career, at that time, 323 with Real Madrid, 44 with Spain, and 33 with Schalke.[30] On 5 April 2012, in the second leg UEFA Europa League match against Athletic Bilbao, he scored his 77th goal in a European competition.

At a press conference on 19 April 2012, Raúl announced he was leaving Schalke after his contract expired in June, and that "my future is not in Europe."[31] Raúl had such an impact at Schalke that, on his departure, the club decided to retire the No. 7 shirt for an indefinite period.[32] However, in 2013, the No. 7 shirt was eventually reinstated and given to Max Meyer, Schalke's new prodigy.[33]

Al Sadd[edit]

Raúl unveiled as an Al Sadd player in May 2012

On 12 May 2012, it was announced that Raúl had signed a deal with Qatari side Al Sadd for the 2012–13 Qatar Stars League season.[34][35]

He played his first competitive game for the club on 5 August in the 2012 Sheikh Jassem Cup, scoring a penalty in extra time in order to secure a 2–0 win against Mesaimeer.[36] The veteran also took on the role of captain after Abdulla Koni was substituted.[37] On 13 April 2013, Raúl captained Al Sadd to the 2012–13 Qatar Stars League title. Raúl scored 9 goals in 22 appearances to help Al Sadd win their first title in five years in his first season in Qatar.[38] He was also presented with the post-season QFA-sanctioned Fair Play Award in May 2013.[39]

On 22 August 2013, Raúl played for Real Madrid in the first half of the Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu and scored in the 23rd minute. He then played the second half for Al Sadd as Real Madrid won 5–0.[40] On 5 March 2014, Raúl announced he would retire from professional football at the end of the Qatari football season, marking the end of a 20-year-long senior career.[41]

New York Cosmos[edit]

Raúl warms up prior to a New York Cosmos game in 2015.

On 30 October 2014, Raúl returned to professional football and signed with the New York Cosmos in the United States. He scored on his North American Soccer League debut in the 1-1 draw against Indy Eleven in the first game of the 2015 Spring Season.[42]

International career[edit]

Raúl began his Spain career at youth level and represented the nation at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 1995, scoring three goals from five matches. In total, Rául scored 17 goals at the various youth levels for Spain. With the senior team, Raúl went on for many years to score a national record 44 goals in 102 caps for Spain. David Villa, however, later equaled Raúl's record in 2010 and surpassed it on 25 March 2011 in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

Of his 44 international goals, Raúl scored 32 goals in competitive games, six of which were in the finals of major tournaments and 12 others on friendly games. On 27 March 1999, in a Euro 2000 qualifier, Raúl scored four goals, one of his only two international hat-tricks, during Spain's 9–0 rout of Austria.[43] He scored another international hat-trick four days later against San Marino during the same qualifying tournament. Raúl took over the team captaincy following the retirement of Fernando Hierro in 2002 and skippered the national side for four years.

Curiously, Raúl's international career would begin and end with omissions from Spanish squads for European Championships tournaments. In spite of a successful first two seasons of senior football, Raúl was not chosen by then-coach Javier Clemente for Euro 1996 in England. Instead, Raúl had to wait until October 1996 to earn his first senior cap against the Czech Republic before opening his international goal tally with a strike on his second appearance against Yugoslavia. Raúl went on to participate in three FIFA World Cups from 1998 to 2006, along with UEFA Euro 2000 and Euro 2004, scoring at least one goal in each of the three World Cup competitions. At the 2002 World Cup, he scored three goals in the group phase before injuring himself against the Republic of Ireland in Spain's fourth game and missing the remainder of the tournament.

Raúl was last chosen for the national team in September 2006, following a 3–2 defeat against Northern Ireland in Belfast, a game in which Raúl hit the post late on. During Spain's victorious UEFA Euro 2008 tournament run, manager Luis Aragonés preferred Fernando Torres and David Villa as his first choice strike force. Raúl's clubmate and goalkeeper Iker Casillas succeeded him as captain and also went on to lead Spain to the FIFA World Cup title in 2010.

Style of play[edit]

Raúl executing a bicycle kick for Real Madrid in 2009

A prolific goalscorer and a highly creative forward, Raúl is regarded as one of the greatest and most consistent strikers of his generation.[44][45][46] Wearing the number 7 jersey for most of his club and international career, he was capable of playing anywhere along the front line, although he was primarily deployed as a centre-forward, or as a supporting striker.[47] Raúl was a quick, left-footed player, who was capable of scoring both in and outside the penalty area with his accurate and powerful shot.[47] He possessed excellent ball control and technical ability, and was effective in the air as well as with his feet.[47]

Although primarily renowned for prolific goalscoring, Raúl was also a highly creative and hardworking player, capable of playing off of his team mates, creating chances, and assisting goals.[44][48] In addition to these characteristics, Raúl is remembered for his leadership and discipline; throughout his extensive career, he never received a red card, and he was rarely booked.[49][50] For his technical skills, elegance and performances, he was nicknamed "El Ferrari," or "The Ferrari," by Fernando Hierro, another emblematic Madrid player.[51]


Raúl has been sponsored by German sportswear company Adidas during his career, and has appeared in Adidas commercials.[52] He has advertised Adidas Predator football boots, and in 2004 he starred in an Adidas commercial featuring a number of other stars on mopeds, including Zinedine Zidane, Michael Ballack, Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet.[52]

Raúl has featured in Pepsi commercials, including an advertisement for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan where he lined up alongside players including David Beckham, Roberto Carlos and Gianluigi Buffon in taking on a team of Sumo players.[53]

Personal life[edit]

Early in his career, Raúl's goal celebration consisted of kissing his wedding ring as an acknowledgment to his wife Mamen Sanz, whom he married in 1999 and with whom he has four sons and a daughter: Jorge, Hugo, twins Héctor and Mateo,[54] and María.[55]


Raúl in his last season with Real Madrid


Real Madrid
Schalke 04
Al Sadd
New York Cosmos




*Most wins.
*Use the same rule before the trophy was awarded.
*Most wins.


*Includes other European competitive competitions, including the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, UEFA Intertoto Cup, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup.
^^Includes other European competitive competitions and Intercontinental Cup.


Career statistics[edit]


As of 22 September 2015.
Club Season League Cup1 Continental2 Other3 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Real Madrid C 1994–95 7 16 7 16
Real Madrid B 1994–95 1 0 1 0
Real Madrid 1994–95 28 9 2 1 0 0 30 10
1995–96 40 19 2 1 8 6 2 0 52 26
1996–97 42 21 5 1 47 22
1997–98 35 10 1 0 2 2 3 0 49 13
1998–99 37 25 2 0 8 3 2 1 49 29
1999–2000 34 17 4 0 15 10 4 2 57 29
2000–01 36 24 0 0 12 7 2 1 50 32
2001–02 35 14 6 6 12 6 2 3 55 29
2002–03 31 16 2 0 12 9 2 0 47 25
2003–04 35 11 7 6 9 2 2 1 53 20
2004–05 32 9 1 0 10 4 43 13
2005–06 26 5 0 0 6 2 32 7
2006–07 35 7 1 0 7 5 43 12
2007–08 37 18 1 0 8 5 2 0 48 23
2008–09 37 18 1 3 7 3 2 0 47 24
2009–10 30 5 2 0 7 2 39 7
Total [63] 550 228 37 18 132 66 22 11 741 323
Schalke 04 2010–11 34 13 4 1 12 5 1 0 51 19
2011–12 32 15 3 2 11 4 1 0 47 21
Total 66 28 7 3 23 9 2 0 98 40
Al Sadd 2012–13 22 9 12 3 0 0 34 12
2013–14 17 2 5 2 5 0 27 4
Total 39 11 17 5 5 0 61 16
New York Cosmos 2015 24 6 1 0 25 6
Total 24 6 1 0 25 6
Career total 679 273 62 26 160 75 24 11 925 385
1Played in Copa del Rey With Real Madrid and DFB-Pokal With Schalke 04 and Qatari Stars Cup, Sheikh Jassem Cup With Al Sadd and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with New York Cosmos.
2Played in UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League With Real Madrid and Schalke 04 and AFC Champions League With Al Sadd.
3Includes other competitive competitions, including the Supercopa de España, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup With Real Madrid and DFL-Supercup With Schalke 04.

International goals[edit]

As of 19 June 2006[64]


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External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Fernando Hierro
Spain captain
Succeeded by
Iker Casillas
Preceded by
Fernando Hierro
Real Madrid captain
Succeeded by
Iker Casillas