Five fascinating facts about recently retired Raul Gonzalez
Lee Gormley | November 17, 2015
Real Madrid icon Raul retires from football
Real Madrid and Spain legend Raul Gonzalez recently announced his immediate retirement from football after a single season with American outfit New York Cosmos, with the finisher deciding to call it quits at the age of 38 following his side’s North American Soccer League Bowl triumph.
The former Galacticos goalscorer spent a hugely successful 16 years at the Bernabeu, going on to become the Spanish giants’ record marksman, before a certain Cristiano Ronaldo came along and pushed him down to second in those standings.
As well as featuring for Los Blancos, who are 5/1 with Coral for an 11th European crown this season, Raul also had spells at Bundesliga outfit Schalke and Qatari side Al Sadd, before revealing he has now called time on his 21-year playing career.
“It was my last game in my career,” said Raul. “I’m very proud of everything I did. For me now, I start a new life with another project. I’m happy, but I’m also very sad.”
Following Raul’s retirement, here are five fascinating facts you may or may not have already known about the Spanish legend.
Raul spent time at Atletico Madrid academy
Despite going on to become a Real icon, with his incredible goal scoring talents seeing him become one of the most important players in the club’s history, he surprisingly enjoyed time in their bitter rivals Atletico Madrid’s academy.
Raul began life with his local side San Cristobal before heading into Atleti’s youth system, where he spent two years before it was shut down by the then-president Jesus Gil as a cost-saving method. The Spain striker then switched to Real’s academy, going on to do quite well in the senior ranks.
Highest scoring Spaniard ever in European leagues
With 256 goals during his clinical time in the Spanish and German top-flight divisions, Raul is the deadliest marksman bearing from his native homeland in Europe’s top leagues, after 228 strikes in La Liga and 28 in the Bundesliga.
Most-capped player in Real Madrid history
Despite losing his all-time goals record to Portuguese superstar Ronaldo this year, Raul still possesses the club’s most ever appearances, having donned the famous Madrid colours on 741 occasions.
This achievement can be put into simple context by the club icons who he surpassed during that sensational record of outings, with Iker Casillas second and Manolo Sanchis third-place in those listings as other former heroes.
Only three-time FIFA Club Forward of the Year winner
Raul’s list of silverware success is truly remarkable, having lifted the Champions League three times for Los Blancos, as well as six domestic crowns and four Spanish Super Cups.
He, of course, managed to win two cup competitions for Schalke and continued his success later on in his career, securing the Qatar Stars League with Al Sadd and NASL Spring Season 2015 with New York Cosmos.
Although, his personal accolades were impressive too, with the Spaniard being the only ever player voted as FIFA Club Forward of the Year (most prolific striker in European competition) three times in 2000, 2001 and 2002, during his most deadly days at Real.
Over 1000 professional career appearances
Featuring in Spain, Germany, Qatar and most recently America, Raul incredibly racked-up over 1000 appearances throughout his career for clubs and country, a truly superb achievement for this symbolic striker, who will go down as one of the greats after retiring later this year.