Raul Gonzales Blanco
Raul Gonzalez Blanco, popularly known simply as Raul, is a Spanish international legend who has played for the Spanish and European giants Real Madrid all his life. He has been the captain of Real Madrid since 2003 and was until recently the captain of the Spanish national side too. Presently, he plays as a striker for Schalke 04, a German Bundesliga. He is an all time top goalscorer of Real Madrid team.
Raul is a three time winner of the UEFA Champions League and has been an all time leading goalscorer of the competition. On 25th July 2010, he left Real Madrid, having scored 323 goals in 741 appearances. He joined Schalke team.
Raul began his Spain career at the youth level, representing the nation at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 1995. He took over the team captaincy post Fernando Hierro retirement in 2002, and skippered the national team for almost four years. On a curious note, his international career began and ended with omissions from the Spanish squads for European Championships tournament. Even if with victory of first two seasons of senior football, Raul was not chosen by the then coach, Javier Clemente for Euro 1996 in England. But, he had to wait till October 1996 for his first senior cap against the Czech Republic prior to opening his international goal tally with a strike, on his second appearance against Yugoslavia. Blanco was not chosen for the national team since September 2006.
Raul is often referred to as the King of Spain for his legacy. He has the most frightening record in European football, having won three UEFA Champions League medal with Real Madrid and is also the all time leading goalscorer of the same competition with 61 goals. He has also won 6 La Liga titles in his long tenure with Real Madrid.
Raul is currently the 7th highest goalscorer in the history of the Spanish top flight with 204 goals in 481 games and counting, he is also Real Madrid’s second highest goalscorer of all time.
Raul actually started his football with Real Madrid city rivals Atletico Madrid and was a part of their youth set-up until 1994 when the Atleti youth academy was liquidated and Raul came to Real Madrid. He has since then become a Merengue and is the most popular player among the Madrid fans. Raul has featured a staggering 102 times for Spain and has scored 44 goals.
Whilst with the Real Madrid team, Raul team won the La Liga six times, Supercopa de Espana four times and the UEFA Champions League thrice. Moreover, they won the UEFA Super Cup once in 2002 and the Intercontinental Cup twice, in 1998 and in 2002.
With the team of Schalke 04, Raul won the DFB-Pokal once in 2010-11 and the DFL-Supercup once in 2011.
Individually, Raul has won various awards and recognitions. Some of these include Breakthrough player once in 1994-95, Best Spanish player for five times, European Sports Magazines Team of the year thrice and the International Cup Best Player/Man of the match once in 1998.