Raul Gonzalez Speaker Profile
Raul Gonzalez Biography
Ral Gonzlez Blanco (born 27 June 1977 in Madrid, Spain), known simply as Ral, is a Spanish footballer who plays as a striker. He currently plays for German club Schalke 04. Ral had spent most of his career playing for Spanish club Real Madrid up until 2010 and is the club's all-time top goalscorer. Ral is a three-time winner of the UEFA Champions League and has long been the competition's all-time leading goalscorer. He left Real Madrid on 25 July 2010, having scored 323 goals in 741 appearances.
Ral Gonzlez's career began at his local team C.D. San Cristbal de los ngeles playing for their Alevn team and the Infantil the next season. He signed with Atltico Madrid's Infantil team and won a national title with the Cadete team the following season. Following Atltico's then-president Jess Gil decision to close their youth academy as a cost-saving measure, Ral moved on to Real Madrid's Cadete team. 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.
Ral playing for Real Madrid in El Clsico match against Barcelona in 2007
Started his professional career in the 199495 season with Real Madrid C, he scored 13 goals in just 7 games and swiftly promoted to the first team by coach Jorge Valdano, replacing the legendary figure of Emilio Butragueo in a highly symbolic passing of the crown. He became the youngest player (17 years and 124 days) ever to play for the senior side, (even though the record was finally broken by Alberto Rivera, at the late of that season) and turned in an outstanding debut performance on 29 October 1994 in an away game against Real Zaragoza in La Romareda, creating a goal for strike partner Ivn Zamorano and impressing observers with all-round play of startling precocity, and heralding the demise of Butragueo in the process. The very next week, Ral scored his first goal in his second senior game on a home debut against the rival and also Ral's former youth club, Atltico Madrid in a bitter derby match. Duly establishing himself as a fixture in the first team, Ral registered a total of nine goals in 28 appearances (many of which were off the bench as the club eased the youngster into senior football) to help Real Madrid win the 199495 league championship in his first season.
Over the next eight seasons, Ral developed into perhaps the leading striker in all of European and world football. With Real Madrid, he won several honours, including further La Liga titles in 199697 (scoring 21 La Liga goals), 200001 (scoring 24 La Liga goals), and 200203 (scoring 16 La Liga goals in a campaign truncated by a bout of appendicitis for which Ral was hospitalized). During the period 19982002, Ral and Real Madrid also won three UEFA Champions League trophies (1998, 2000 and 2002). For most of this time, Ral struck up a prolific scoring partnership with Fernando Morientes (and later Ronaldo). Ral took over the captaincy of Real Madrid when Fernando Hierro was transferred in 2003, a responsibility he held until leaving the club in 2010. Unusually for such a successful and long-serving player, and despite appearing in two finals, 2002 (in which he scored) and 2004, Ral never lifted the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup).
Ral during a Champions League group match against Zenit St. Petersburg
He became the first player to score fifty Champions League goals when he netted in a 21 group stage win over Olympiacos on 28 September 2005, and continues to be the all-time leader in appearances (128). He was also the first player to score in two Champions League finals, netting in the finals of both 2000 against Valencia in 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 scored in the same match and later scored in 2011 against the same team.
Ral holds the distinction of having never received a red card throughout his 17 years at the professional level. On 11 November 2008, Ral scored his 300th goal for Real Madrid with a hat-trick against Real Unin, with Real winning the game 43 but being eliminated on away goals after draw 66 on aggregate. In total, Ral scored 323 goals for Real Madrid, breaking the long-standing club record of Alfredo Di Stfano with a volleyed goal against Sporting Gijon on 15 February 2009. He is also the top active La Liga goalscorer with 228 goals in La Liga matches, and is presently third on the all-time list, which is headed by Telmo Zarra with 252 goals. Ral holds the record of all-time top La Liga scorer for Real Madrid with 228, a record previously held by Alfredo Di Stfano.
Ral and fellow long-serving teammate Iker Casillas were both awarded a 'contract 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). On 23 September 2009, Ral equalled former veteran and legend Manolo Sanchs' league appearance record for Real Madrid, and is second in La Liga behind Andoni Zubizarreta who played 622 games.
Ral in his last match with Real Madrid against Real Zaragoza
With powerful symbolism, Ral's last touch with the ball as Real Madrid player was to score his last goal, and he did whilst he withstood pain of an injury that would keep him out of action for the rest of that season. It was an opening goal scored on 24 April 2010 in an away game with a 12 victory against Real Zaragoza in La Romareda (the stadium where he made his first debut back in 1994) and was scored on 50' minutes after Ral (himself only on the pitch as a substitute for Rafael van der Vaart on 15' minutes) had signalled that he could not physically continue and was prepared to be substituted by Karim Benzema one minute after the goal. Before the substitution could be made, Real Madrid launched a counter-attack to create a goal. Though Ral ran to a slow hobble, he shuffled into the box and was able to poke the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo's cross. A meaningful goal with his last touch with the ball that proved his loyalty as a Real Madrid player.
Having spent the rest of the season recovering from that injury, the club confirmed on 25 July 2010 that Ral would be leaving the club, a day after his teammate Guti confirmed he was leaving too after 15 years. Although new coach Jos Mourinho wanted Ral to continue, Ral did not want to spend another season as third or fourth choice striker and he thought that it was better if he left as he was still able to deliver a good performance in another club.
Ral Gonzlez as player of Schalke
Ral signed a two-year contract with FC Schalke 04 on 28 July 2010, ending speculation about his future. 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. He scored his first goal for the club during his first match on 1 August 2010 with a brace in a 31 victory over Bayern Munich in the final match pre-season competition LIGA total! Cup 2010. One week later, he made his official match 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 match. Raul made his official Bundesliga debut on 21 August 2010, in a 21 defeat against Hamburg. and scored his first goal for Schalke in Bundesliga against Mnchengladbach on 25 September 2010 in a 22 draw. After a quiet start he has rediscovered his goalscoring form in the Bundesliga with a brace against St. Pauli on 5 November 2010 in a 30 win, and on 20 November 2010 he scored his first hat-trick for the club in a 40 win over Werder Bremen. On 18 December 2010 he scored his second hat-trick for Schalke in a 30 win against Kln.
Ral scored another crucial goal on 2 March 2011 in a 01 victory over the arch-rival, Bayern Munich in the semifinal of 201011 DFB-Pokal. After absent for 6 years, Schalke ultimately reached the finals since 2005. In the final match, they played against MSV Duisburg, the first 2. Fuball-Bundesliga team which reached the final since 2004. Ral 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 05 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 Borussia Dortmund.
In European play, Raul has since become the highest goal scorer in all UEFA competitions with 73 goals, ahead of A.C. Milan veteran Filippo Inzaghi with 70 goals. He scored 71 goals in UEFA Champions League (66 goals with the Castilian and 5 others with Schalke 04) and addition his two goals with the capital side, one goal in 2000 UEFA Super Cup and the other one in 1998 Intercontinental Cup (also commonly referred as known as EUSA Cup). On 22 October 2010, the former Spanish international scored twice against Hapoel Tel Aviv in a 31 win, which tied him with German legend Gerd Mller for the most number of European goals. Ral 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 at the Mestalla Stadium in a 11 draw. In the quarter-finals, Ral scored two goals against Inter Milan. He scored one goal in the first leg, a 25 away win in San Siro and one goal in the second leg, a 21 home win in Veltins-Arena. Schalke progressed to the semi-finals of the 201011 UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history, where they played against Manchester United. Schalke lost the first game 02, which was their first home defeat this season in this tournament and lost again 41 in Old Trafford.
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