At 33, after being pushed away from the club he has played so long for, has done so much for, some would expect one of the greatest soccer players of the last 15 years to hang his boots and go into a comfortable post-soccer playing career life. That’s not Raul Gonzalez.
Raul moved to Schalke, contenders for the Bundesliga title before the season began. Than it began, and those title hopes vanished pretty quickly. The ship has stabalized, but Schalke won’t be getting any European qualification through the league it seems, stranded at 10th, 10 points behind 5th place and Mainz’ 40 points. Thank heavens for the German Cup, and for Bayern Munich. Raul scored a 15th minute goal in their Semi Final match at Munich against Bayern, sending Schalke through to the final with a 1-0 win.
Now lets take a look at Raul’s trophy cabinet –
Six La Liga titles
Three Champions League titles
Four Spanish Supercopas
Two Intercontinental Cups
One UEFA Super Cup
Pretty much everything possible at club level. Almost everything. The Spanish Cup, Copa del Rey. He’s been to the final twice with Real, losing to Deportivo and Zaragoza on those occasions. With a relatively comfortable rival – Duisburg from the second division, come May, Raul may get the final medal missing from his club collection. There’s always that World Cup and Euro he missed out on after getting dropped from the Spanish squad, but that’s a different story.
For Raul personally this season has been a rather good one. Eleven league goals, three in the Champions League (all time leading scorer there) and just one in the German Cup, but he kept it for the opportune moment. His strike against Valencia at the Mestalla could be the edge that Schalke use to make it into the quarter finals.