Raul’s transfer to Schalke 04 is a very shrewd move by both parties. Undisputedly a living legend due to his glorious sixteen year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu where he conquered domestic and European honors for Los Blancos.
Despite growing up as an Atletico Madrid fan and living within a vicinity in Madrid where the people were predominantly Los Colchoneros supporters, he made his move to The Whites as a youngster and never looked back. Cementing his legacy at the world’s most spectacular football club.
However, like all good things, they come to an end at some point. Following a tearful farewell at the beginning of the week to his peers and friends at Madrid, Raul confirmed he would be ending his career in either England or Germany. As it is, Schalke won the race to sign the 33 year old which has been the talk of Germany due to the calibre of player which is joining the growing ranks of the Bundesliga.
It is a monumental move for Germany’s top flight. Pessimist’s will say it is just another big pay day for a player whose career is beginning to descend, but how wrong can they be? For a player of the magnitude of Raul to opt for a move to Germany is a clear indication of the Bundelsiga’s growing attraction. Although it is unconfirmed that Raul had other concrete offers on the table, it was the German side who publicly stated their intent to grab the famous number seven and subsequently got their man.
He was presented to the world’s media at his new home, the Veltins Arena after passing his medical. He was greeted by a warm and wonderful welcome by his new adoring fans. The Miners were preparing a low key arrival for the Spaniard but the turnout of fans saw them pour into the arena to welcome their new darling.
Raul himself is delighted with the move. His expression during his conference was a picture as he never failed to beam his smile. He is grateful for the opportunity to be able to continuously play at the highest level where he will once again embark on a Champions League campaign. Something he hasn’t failed to do in thirteen years.
This would surely have played a significant role in his decision to move north from Spain. He has given himself at least six more matches in a Champions League group to tally up more goals and appearances. He is currently the competitions all time leading goal scorer with 66 goals and only trails Italian legend Paulo Maldini by seven games to overtake him as the competitions all time appearance holder.
It is difficult to imagine the Champions League without Raul as he has given so much to the competition for the last fifteen years. He is a true icon and his imagery will live long in the memory after he eventually hangs up his boots as his name will be held in the highest regard along with other European Cup greats such as Alfredo Di Stefano and Puskas – all Real Madrid icons themselves. It will be pleasant to see him grace Europe’s elite for at least one more season.
Schalke is a proud football club in Western Germany. A club which has accumulated seven top flight league championships and is held in the highest regard by the German public as a one of the most popular clubs in the country. Raul’s arrival is certainly going to enhance the clubs profile. His name on the back of Schalke shirts were certainly boost the marketing setup of the club but his imagery will be accompanied by his wealth of talent.
Yes, he has past his peak, but as he proved for Madrid in the last couple of years his predatory instinct in front of goal has never faded. His eye for goal is still well intact as it compensates his lack of pace. In the two seasons prior to last he bagged 23 and 24 goals in respective campaigns. A fantastic return.
Last season he only netted seven times but coach Manuel Pellegrini mainly utilized the number seven as substitute as Florentino Perez lured younger players to the Spanish capital as well as Gonzalo Higuain figuring predominantly as the clubs new main striker.
His contract at Schalke is an initial two year deal. It can be a very exciting end to the Spaniards career. He may achieve a number of things at his new home as they crave their first German league title since 1958. They came up agonizingly short last campaign as they ended up as runners up to a tantalizing Bayern Munich who are reinvigorated under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal.
One thing Raul is – he is a winner, and he will give one hundred percent every time he graces the hallowed turf of any stadium. He will be hungry to add some more honors to his already glittering CV. Although Spanish football is implemented in his DNA, it will be an interesting challenged for him to test himself in another European league and adjust to other climates and situations. It is certainly going to be an adventure for him.
Raul, during his inaugural appearance as a Schalke star, said:
“Schalke is a new challenge.”
“The Bundesliga is one of the strongest leagues in Europe. Our aim has to be to fight for the Bundesliga title. It will be difficult in the Champions League but we want to progress from the group stage. It will be an eventful season for Schalke.”
It was somewhat bewildering seeing the iconic Spaniard adorn the colors and emblems of a different football club – but he certainly looked the part. He will also continue to have his famous number on the back of his new shirt.
Spain’s all time leading goal scorer will never ever be considered anything less than – great, iconic, legendary. He can now embark on his new challenge where already it seems that both the player and his new club are an ideal match. Well done Schalke for a wonderful piece of business, and good luck Raul!