The Spanish Icon Who Transformed the Fortunes of Real Madrid

The Spanish Icon Who Transformed the Fortunes of Real Madrid
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The Spanish Icon Who Transformed the Fortunes of Real Madrid

The Spanish Icon Who Reworked the Fortunes of Actual Madrid

Real Madrid icon Raul
Actual Madrid icon Raul

The early 90s was a sobering time for followers of Actual Madrid.

Their fierce rivals Barcelona had effectively and really established themselves as the highest canine in Spanish soccer, notching 4 consecutive La Liga titles together with their maiden Champions League crown, as Johan Cruyff’s ‘Dream Workforce’ swept apart all who dared come earlier than them.

Raul Real Madrid 1996
A younger Raul within the colors of Actual Madrid | Stu Forster/Getty Photos

Los Blancos had been in want of a rebuild; solely as soon as within the earlier 40 years had the membership skilled such a barren interval by way of league success. They wanted a catalyst, an icon, somebody they may depend on to shoulder the burden of the world’s largest membership and carry them again to the apex of European soccer.

Step ahead Raul.

Plucked from the Atletico Madrid academy on the age of 15, Raul could be afforded simply two years in La Fábrica earlier than being fast-tracked to the senior squad. A run of 16 targets in 9 video games for the reserve crew quickly caught the eye of coach Jorge Valdano, and at simply 17 years and 124 days of age the teen was handed his senior debut, thus changing into the youngest participant within the membership’s historical past.

The Spaniard fashioned a deadly partnership with Iván Zamorano – grabbing 37 targets between them in Raul’s debut season – as Actual wrestled the league title again to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Raul of Real Madrid
Raul would go on to interrupt Actual Madrid’s goalscoring report | Getty Photos/Getty Photos

Private accolades would observe as he was named La Liga’s Breakthrough Participant, although his work was removed from over. Actual weren’t a flash within the pan crew, this wasn’t a membership that was constructed on sporadic success and occasional silverware. In the event that they had been to determine themselves as the best crew in Europe as soon as once more, they would want a constant spearhead to their assault – Raul didn’t disappoint.

The ahead would spend 16 glittering years at Actual, notching six La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns, earlier than departing for the Bundesliga in 2010 having amassed a whopping 741 appearances – a determine which stays to today a membership report and is unlikely to ever be surpassed.

Regardless of being an excellent finisher, one of many oddities of Raul as a striker was there wasn’t a explicit aspect of his recreation which grew plaudits. As famously said by his former teammate Fernando Hierro: “He was not a ten out of ten in something, however he was an eight-and-a-half in all the things.”

And maybe it is for that reason that the Spaniard didn’t obtain fairly the gratification he deserved. 323 targets for the most important membership in world soccer, however not a Ballon d’Or in sight? Raul’s biggest expertise was consistency, and also you’d battle to make a spotlight reel of that.

Real Madrid's Brazilian Ronaldo (2nd fro
Raul was joined at Actual Madrid by an entire host of superstars | PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Photos

He would share the sector with quite a few Ballon d’Or winners together with Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane, but the prize of being named the world’s finest footballer would ceaselessly elude him.

On the peak of his powers Raul’s future on the Santiago Bernabeu would recurrently be known as into query, with an entire host of European behemoths trying to lure him away from Madrid. But his love for the membership that had adopted him as one in every of their very own would present no indicators of wavering. He was Actual Madrid.

On the age of 33, the Spaniard would lastly name time on his Los Blancos profession, transferring to German outfit Schalke, however there was to be no ill-feeling from the Actual fanbase or hierarchy, with president Florentino Perez quoted as saying: “For each Actual Madrid fan, Raul was, is, and at all times shall be, an instance of honesty, work, the flexibility to withstand defeat and somebody that’s captivated with soccer.

“His 16 titles gained in our shirt exhibit his greatness, his sense of loyalty and his dedication to Actual Madrid.”

Real Madrid Brazilian Ronaldo (R) and Ra
Raul and Ronaldo rejoice Actual Madrid’s 2003 La Liga triumph | PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Photos

Since his departure, Raul’s goalscoring information have been frankly obliterated by the irrepressible Cristiano Ronaldo, nevertheless, if you happen to ask any Actual Madrid fan who their biggest quantity seven is, there is just one reply: Raul.

Described by Pep Guardiola as “an important participant in Spanish soccer historical past”, Raul would lay the foundations of success for future groups of each Actual Madrid and Spain. A selfless, sensible, genius of a footballer, who will ceaselessly be remembered for bringing the nice occasions again to the most important membership in world soccer.

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