October 30, 2009
His first goal
“It reflected the hope and excitement of a kid who wanted to be a footballer playing in the Santiago Bernabeu against Atletico Madrid.”
It came against the same team that he played for during his earliest years. Unable to score in his official La Liga debut on 29 October 1994 against Zaragoza, Raul found the back of the net against Atletico Madrid one week later.
Unforgettable goal against Atletico
“I was on the train one day and noticed everyone looking at me… that is when my life started to change.”
By 1996/97 Raul was the talk of the town, but another goal against Atletico increased his legend even further. He evaded two defenders and put the ball past Molina with barely any angle to shoot.
Raul introduces the Aguanis in the Intercontinental Cup
“Fans adore Zidane and Ronaldo, but they know how to appreciate those who grew up here, and no one can take that away from you.”
On 1 December 1998, Raul’s image was plastered around the world following the Intercontinental Cup against Vasco de Gama in Tokyo, where he invented his trademark double stepover and game-winning shot.
“I enjoy the responsibility I have: the fact that kids admire anything I say or do.”
Raul has finished as La Liga’s top scorer on two occasions. The first was in 1998/99 when he scored 25 goals to beat out Rivaldo by one. Two seasons later his 24 were again one better than the Brazilian.
Brace against Barcelona
“There have been many more good days than bad days during my career.”
On 13 October 1999, the forward lobbed in the equalizer in the Camp Nou with four minutes left to play. Raul silenced the stadium with one simple hand gesture, which over time has represented a symbol of contempt towards his critics.
Three Champions League titles
“It was unimaginable several years ago, but I’m already thinking about the next one; you only remember the winner.”
Real Madrid’s 0-1 victory against Juventus on 20 May 1998 put an end to a 32-year drought in Europe. Two years later, on 24 May 2000, the Whites won the Eighth with a 3-0 drubbing against Valencia. Raul scored after a 60-meter scamper and a one-on-one with Cañizares. He also struck gold on 15 May 2002, when Real Madrid won its Ninth with a 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.
“Defending the national team colors is the greatest satisfaction for a Spanish football player.”
Raul made his Spanish team debut on 10 October 1996. A little over ten years later, 15 August 2006 to be exact, he earned his 100th cap against Iceland. The only other player to pass the century mark is Andoni Zubizarreta, but Iker Casillas is one appearance shy of 100.
All-time top scorer for Spain
“When I speak to retired players, they remind me how lucky I am that I am still playing. I want to enjoy this all I can.”
With 44 goals to his name, Raul is the all-time top scorer of the Spanish national team. He is followed by Villa (33), Hierro (29), Morientes (27) and Butragueño (26).
All-time top scorer of the Champions League
“I enjoy it now as much as I did then, when I would cross the entire city to go to the old Real Madrid Sports City.”
Raul is also the all-time top scorer of the UEFA Champions League having scored 66 goals in Europe’s top competition. He is followed by Van Nistelrooy (56), Henry (50), Di Stefano (47), Shevchenko (47), Inzaghi (44) and Del Piero (42). He was also the top scorer of the competition on two occasions. (99/00 and 00/01).
300 victories with Real Madrid
“I feel privileged to be part of Real Madrid, the club that watched me grow as a footballer.”
On 12 April 2009 against Valladolid, Raul became only the third player ever to earn his 300th Primera Division victory. Zubizarreta earned 333 and Sanchis 312. Currently, the captain is sitting on 309.
Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer in La Liga
“Football has memory, which is why we cannot forget where we come from.”
Raul has scored 226 goals around Spain to become the top Madridista scorer of all-time in La Liga. Di Stefano is second with 216, followed by Santillana (186), Hugo Sanchez (164) and Puskas (156).
Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer overall
“I am just as excited to wake up and go train as I was when I started. Football is my passion.”
The Madridista forward has netted 321 goals to become the most prolific Real Madrid goal-scorer ever. He is again followed by Di Stefano (307), Santillana (290), Puskas (236) and Hugo Sanchez (207).
Most league matches played for Real Madrid
“I have had teammates who for one reason or another were lost along the way. Everything went right for me. I am lucky to have made it this far.”
On 23 September 2009 against Villarreal, Raul overtook Manolo Sanchis as the Madridista with the most league matches under his belt. Sanchis reached 523, while Raul now stands at 528.
Most official matches played for Real Madrid
“I have experienced many ups and downs, but it is the affection of all those who I have met along the way that matters most to me.”
Sanchis held the record of 708 official matches played for Real Madrid until 30 September 2009, when Raul took the pitch against Olympique de Marseille for his 709th official appearance. The mark now stands at 714.
Fouth all-time top scorer of La Liga
“Looking back on its history, players and people who have given their hearts and souls to this club, you realize that when you don this shirt you owe it to the millions of fans around the world who expect the best of you.”
Reaching the top spot in this ranking would be the icing on the cake. Raul is the fourth all-time top scorer of La Liga with 226 goals. Ahead of him are Alfredo di Stefano (227), Hugo Sanchez (234) and Zarra (251).
October 29, 2009
Real Madrid are lining up Rafa Benitez as their next manager after giving Manuel Pellegrini two games to save his job.
The Spanish giants have won just one of their last five games and suffered the humiliation of a 4-0 defeat by third division Alcorcon in the Cup on Tuesday night.
Madrid considered sacking Pellegrini straight after the latest debacle, but will give him a chance to turn things around against Getafe on Saturday and at AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The decision gives Madrid time to probe possible successors and Liverpool boss Benitez is said to be on the short list.
A host of out-of-work coaches are also being considered, but Madrid want to know if Benitez's commitment to Liverpool has been shaken by the ongoing boardroom dispute between the club's American owners.
"Go now!" sports daily Marca blared on Wednesday's front page, alongside a photograph of a shattered-looking Pellegrini.
Madrid-based AS led with "Ridicule of the century" while Barcelona-based Sport wrote: "This is the beginning of the end for Pellegrini."
After the game, Real's Chilean coach brushed away questions over whether he would consider resigning and club director general Jorge Valdano said it was important everyone stood together.
Team captain Raul echoed Valdano's calls.
"We win and we lose together so absolutely everyone is to blame," the striker said. "The display we put on isn't the one the club deserves, or one that sits well with our history. We ask for forgiveness and remind people the tie isn't over yet.
"If there is a club that knows about comebacks it is Real Madrid."
Daily El Mundo spread the blame beyond Pellegrini and questioned the motivation of Real's players saying: "None of them were able to replicate the exceptional work of Alcorcon: the commitment, the pressuring, the pace and the goals.
"Alcorcon showed all the properties a fan would want to see in their team."
The return leg is at the Bernabeu in two weeks and Alcorcon coach Juan Antonio Anquela - who was being dubbed 'Anqueloti' in the media - fought to keep the result in perspective while fans celebrated on the pitch outside.
"We haven't achieved anything yet. Real are capable of putting five past anyone," he said.
Pellegrini does not have the luxury of time to put things right. He faces a flurry of high-profile matches before trying to prevent a second consecutive Cup exit to a Segunda B side in the Cup.
Real were embarrassed by Real Union in the last season's competition.
He has a second city derby at home to Getafe in La Liga on Saturday, a trip to Milan in the Champions League next Tuesday, and then a third local derby at Atletico Madrid in the league.
October 27, 2009
During Tuesday's pre-match press conference, Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini pointed out that Alcorcon is a good team that will put up a tough fight.
Is the Copa del Rey an objective for the team?
Real Madrid's goal is to win every competition. It is important to at least make an effort. We also have the league and Champions League to play for, but that isn't a reason to let the Copa fall by the wayside. It will be a more attractive competition the longer it wears on. But our first goal is to qualify for the Last 16.
This competition usually sees the participation of a lot of youth teamers, but that isn't the case now.
We cannot let our guard down. If I didn't call up academy players it is because I want the most gelled squad possible. We need fulfill our objectives, which right now are the Champions League and Copa del Rey.
What do you expect from Alcorcon? Have you studied the team?
We went to see their recent matches. They are a good team that was nearly promoted last season. The only difference nowadays is the motivation factor. They will be highly motivated, so I hope Madrid knows how to counter.
How is Cristiano Ronaldo's ankle? How is his recovery going?
He is recovering as expected. I think he will undergo another tests tomorrow, but the doctors have the final say.
How are Garay and Benzema? Are they ready to play?
Garay is perfect and Benzema sustained a knock against Milan, but nothing to worry about.
Did the fact that you announced the squad list last night upset the players?
There is no uneasiness. I have not met with the captains and they have not expressed this supposed uneasiness. We get bored by having to play at ten at night, but it is necessary when you are participating in a competition. Today is a long day, but I think the team is committed. Perhaps some players don't agree, but they aren't upset.
October 25, 2009
Iker Casillas offered Sunday's press conference following Real Madrid's training session and discussed the team's motivation heading into the midweek Copa del Rey opener against Alcorcon.How do you feel personally after the draw in Gijon?
The team was great on defense and I was hardly seen in the second half. We didn't have the firepower we tend to have and we are a little upset to have only returned with a draw.
The press contends that the team needs more depth and wing play. What do you think?
Perhaps we were hurt by all our injuries. We are capable of taking care of any match, but yesterday's opponent play solid football on its third.
Is it strange to have all these recent slip-ups?
Of course I don't like to lose against Milan, but that is an historic team who losing against was a possibility. We went absent minded for two minutes and it changed the match. We had several players out against Sporting and we left two points slip away. We hope it doesn't affect us in the future.
Is the fact that the defense is playing so far back a temporary thing?
We need to play in a more advanced position than last year, but when an opponent creates a chance we retreat without thinking about it. It isn't something to worry about, but we can improve.
Do you share the same criticism that stemmed from yesterday's match?
Whether it is luck of misfortune, Real Madrid is always talked about. Florentino's effort to sign all the new players is praiseworthy. We can't be too worried. We just need to continue working.
Do you find that Pellegrini has more doubts now than before?
No. He is a dedicated person who does a great job. He does what is best for the team and we have been unfortunate to have so many players sustain injuries.
Can you explain the mistakes you made against Milan?
I'm not going to make any excuses about the ball. The mistakes were mine. I will not try to avoid the criticism. I will accept it. It is true that the Champions League ball does strange things. The second goal was a product of a fast play, and the ball went by me before I realized it. I had faith that the team could turn the match around.
How do you see the Copa del Rey opener against Alcorcon?
It's a new competition that is important to us. Alcorcon will be thrilled to play against us. There may be surprises, which is why we are working just as hard as if it was a Champions League match.
Do you think the team relies too much of Cristiano?
Cristiano Ronaldo is a fantastic player, but this squad has plenty of depth.
Santiago Bernabéu Yeste was born June 8 , 1895 in Almansa , province of Albacete , Spain and died June 2 , 1978 in Madrid . He was chairman of Real Madrid from 1943 to 1978. No other president kept the job for so long or led the club for so many titles as Bernabéu did.
Bernabéu first joined the club as player in 1912 . He retired from playing in 1927. In 1929 he joined the board of Real Madrid as secretary, job he would fulfill until 1935. In 1943 he was elected president, which he would remain until his death in 1978. As president of Real Madrid he is considered to have been one of the major forces behind the club's successes. He was responsible for the building of a large new stadium for the club in Chamartin. The stadium was finished in 1947 and renamed in 1953 in his honor: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu .
He was one of the creators of the European Cup, a competition which Real Madrid would dominate in its early stages thanks to the star players that Bernabéu had brought to the club. He died in 1978, while the World Cup was being played in Argentina . In his honor the FIFA decreed three days of mourning during the tournament. In 2002 he was posthumously awarded FIFA's Order of Merit.
Alfredo Di Stéfano (1953-1964)
Alfredo Di Stéfano (born July 4 , 1926 , at Barrancas , Argentina ), is a former Argentine-born footballer who played international football for Argentina , Colombia , and, most famously, Spain . Di Stéfano was a powerful forward with endless stamina and great tactical versatility, able to switch positions with ease, although he nominally played as an attacking forward. Di Stéfano considered by many to be one of the greatest players of all time. Today, he is honorary president of Real Madrid.
Born to a family of Italian immigrants, Di Stéfano's career started with River Plate in Argentina, in 1943 . He won six league titles in the first 12 years of his career in Argentina and Colombia (playing for the Millonarios in Bogota) before moving to Spain.
Di Stéfano's move to Spain was controversial. Barcelona originally signed the player from River Plate but the then Spanish government of Francisco Franco did not like the Catalan nationalism associated with the club, and decided to block the move. Barcelona bought out Di Stéfano's contract from River Plate, who he was actually contracted to, while Real Madrid, helped by the government, negotiated with the Millonarios that he was playing for. Enric Martí , the then president of Barcelona, was also reputedly threatened by the government, leading to Di Stéfano's "release".
Di Stéfano actually played three friendly matches for Barcelona before being moved to Madrid; Barcelona supporters are still upset at the fact that government maneouvering led to this move . The Spanish FA was also used by the government to help Di Stéfano move to Real Madrid, and they publically decided that the two clubs should share Di Stéfano. Barça refused, and he became part of one of the most successful club sides of all time, winning 5 European Cups in a row with Real Madrid and scoring in each final. After retirement, he moved into coaching. With Di Stéfano as coach, Valencia won the Spanish Cup in 1979, but he led Real Madrid to second place in five tournaments in 1983, losing the league title on the last day and being defeated in four cup finals! Di Stéfano is currently the 3rd highest scorer in the history of Spain's top division , with 228 goals in 329 games, behind Hugo Sánchez (234 goals) and Telmo Zarra (251). Di Stéfano is also Real Madrid's highest league goalscorer of all time, with 216 goals in 282 league matches between 1953 and 1964. Di Stéfano was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.
Francisco Gento López
Francisco Gento López (born October 21 , 1933 in Guarnizo, Santander ) was a Spanish football player.
He débuted in the Primera División with Racing Santander in the 52-53 season. In the following year, he signed for Real Madrid and became a legendary player there, in the number 10 shirt. The Galerna del Cantábrico (The Storm of the Cantábrico ), as he was known, played outside left and was noted for his considerable ability when running with the ball. But he was not just gifted with immense speed, but also great skill. He captained a young side, known in Spain as Ye-yé , because of the popularity of The Beatles at that time.
Among other honours, he won the European Cup 6 times with Real Madrid, scoring 30 goals in 95 European games during his career. He also played for Spain from 1955 to 1969, winning 43 caps and scoring 5 times. He had a 62.79% win rate at international level. He has won six European Cups with Real Madrid (56-60, 65-66), competing in eight finals. 1Intercontinental Cup in 1960, won the league twelve times with Real Madrid. Twice won the Copa del Rey with Real Madrid.
After he retired from football in 1971 , he decided to take up coaching. He took charge of various lower-league teams, such as Castilla, Castellón, Palencia, and Granada. In the end, he accepted a post working as an embassador for Real Madrid throughout Europe.
Ferenc Puskás (1958-1967)
Ferenc Puskás (born April 2 , 1927 in Budapest ) was a Hungarian football player, nicknamed Puskás Öcsi ( öcsi means "little brother"). Puskas is a Real Madrid legend.
Also known as the "Galloping Major" because of the post he once held in the Hungarian army, Puskás possessed a ferocious left-footed shot (some claimed it was the most powerful ever seen on a left foot) and was the star of the Hungarian national team of the late 1940s and early 1950s (nicknamed the "Magnificent Magyars"), which many regarded as the finest national team of its time.
Although he left school at the age of 12, he was a professional football player as a teenager. Puskás started his club career with Budapesti Honvéd in 1943 . He moved to Real Madrid in 1958 , and played for them when they won the European Cup three times (1959, 1960 and 1966), including the classic final in 1960 when they beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3. Puskás scored four goals, with Alfredo Di Stefano scoring three. This Madrid team was considered one of the finest teams to ever assembled to play the game. In his club career, he apparently totalled 511 goals, a number believed to be third all-time behind Pelé and Josef Bican .
Because of political reasons Puskás left Hungary in 1956 and immigrated to Spain where he played in Real Madrid . Puskás also appeared four times for the Spanish national team in 1961 and 1962 , but did not score. His 83 international goals in 84 appearances were an all-time record (for men) until 2003 , when it was broken by Iran 's Ali Daei .
Puskás, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease , is one of the most famous living Hungarians and lives now in Budapest in a special care home. Hungary 's national stadium was renamed in his honor in 2001.
José Antonio Camacho Alfaro (1973-1989)
José Antonio Camacho Alfaro was born on 8th of June 1955 in Cieza (Murcia). He was the biggest star in Defense, Real Madrid ever had, when he was playing there for 15 years between (1974 and 1989) comming up from Castilla, RMs youth team in 1974. He played 698 (414 first division) games for RM and won with them 8 league titles (1975,1976,1978,1980,1986,1987,1988,1989), 2 UEFA Cups (1985,1986)..as he was part of the famous 'Quinta del Buitre', 5 Copas del Rey (1974,1975,1980,1982,1989), 1 spanish Supercopa (1988) and 1 Liga-Cup (1985).
In 1989 he finnished his active carreer but kept faith to football in becomming the coach of RMs youth, before he was sorted out to support Di Stefano coaching one year later. His coaching career led him to Rayo Vallecano, Espanyol (that he lead to promotion to La Liga) and Sevilla till he was supposed to give his come-back at the Bernabeu as coach. But after a row with now ex-president Lorenzo Sanz he stepped down after only 22 days.
His highlight has been so far the caretaking of the spanish national team (he himself was holding a record field games played for the national team with 81, only Hierro could overtake him in 2002 during the WC 2002), which he lead to the final stages in EC 2000 and WC 2002, still he was missing luck in these turnaments. After WC 2002 he went to coach Benfica to win the portuguise cup with them in 2004. Now he finally returned to the Bernabeu for the next 2 seasons.
Fernando Ruiz Hierro (1989-2003)
Fernando Hierro (born 23 March 1968 in Vélez-Málaga ) is a former Spanish player. He played as a defender for the Spanish national team and Real Madrid football club. He was also the captain of both teams. At his peak, Hierro's ability to combine solid defensive play with a near-unlimited passing range made him one of the world's most sought-after players.
With Real Madrid, Hierro won the Liga championship five times and the Champions League three times: 1998, 2000, and 2002.
He was released by Real Madrid at the end of the 2002-03 season. After playing for one year for Qatar club Al Rayyan , Hierro returned to Europe for the 2004-05 season, signing with English Premiership side Bolton Wanderers on the advice of his English team-mate at Real Madrid, Steve McManaman . He announced his retirement after one season in England and finished playing football on May 15th 2005. Hierro had made a great impact at Bolton playing in an anchor midfield role and consigning compatriot Ivan Campo to bench duty and manager Sam Allardyce would have loved him to stay on but Hierro had made up his mind to hang up his boots.
Hierro has been capped 89 times for Spain, a record for a Spanish outfield player, and has scored 29 goals. He played for his country in the 1994 , 1998 , and 2002 World Cups , as well as Euro 96 and Euro 2000 . At the time of the 2002 World Cup, he was the leading goalscorer for the Spanish national team. He retired from the national team in 2002 and was since replaced both as captain and as leading goalscorer by Raúl.
"It's no secret Gerrard is a player Perez and technical director Jorge Valdano admire," a source inside the club announced to British tabloid The Sun.
"There is a shortlist for next season and Gerrard is the first name on it."
Having signed Xabi Alonso from the Premier League side last summer for €30 million, los Blancos are looking to spend around the same amount on the 29-year-old.
Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez is already under heavy fire after an awful start to the season and he would be loath to lose his star midfielder.
October 20, 2009
October 16, 2009
Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid joined forces once again with the European Leukodystrophy Association (ELA). The legendary player inaugurated ELA-Spain in 2005 with friiend and former team-mate Raul Gonzalez. Several children who have the illness visited Valdebebas on Friday and had a chance to meet their idols. In the next couple of days they will take the Stadium Tour with Zidane and will see the banner of their association held by the players on the pitch right before the Real Madrid-Valladolid match kicks-off.
Real Madrid will use their match against Valladolid to spread awareness on the fight against leukodystrophy.
Children with the illness witll see the game live at the stadium with ELA Founding Chairman Guy Alba and ELA-Spain Chairman Bienvenido Corral.
Lukodystrophy destroys myelin (a layer that covers up nerves) in the central nervous system and gradually paralizes vital biological processes. It is currently incurable. Ever since its foundation in 1992, the ELA has tried to make people aware of the illness, to support families of people who suffer from it and to finance scientific research. The ELA has founded 317 research programmes, spending a total of 25.2 millon euros.
The Association's fight is beginnig to get its first results; current research results bring hope and allow scientists to believe that the illness may be treated in the future.
With Cristiano Ronaldo, Guti, Alvaro Arbeloa, Fernando Gago, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Christoph Metzelder all currently out injured, some have been worried about how the squad will cope in their absence.
For Raul, though, there is no problem - even with replacing the world's most expensive player.
"Cristiano is a very important player for us, but there are also other injured players," he told Marca.
"We have too many injuries, but we can count on a large squad."
Raul then picked out the Champions League double-header as the most important games in a difficult run that los Merengues are about to embark on.
"Some key games are coming up now, both in the league and the Champions League - particularly the two matches against Milan.
"We will try and qualify for the second round [as soon as possible] in order to concentrate on the league and the Copa del Rey."
Los Galacticos came out on top in the Football Transfer Review study as they were shown to earn €136 million-per-season from their deal with Mediapro.
Barca are third, below Manchester United, with income of €116 million, while the rest of the teams in la Primera are lucky to earn under 50 per cent of that.
Manchester United are also behind Madrid in marketing; replica kits and other merchandise earn the Spanish giants €129 million each year.
Matchday income is won by the Red Devils though as the Premier League champions make €128 million compared to Madrid's €101 million.
Despite claiming that they have to keep a tight rein on their budget, Bayern Munich are Europe's fourth biggest earner raking in €295 million, with €177 million coming from marketing.
Ruben de la Red, who hasn't set foot on the pitch since fainting almost a year ago, joined Esteban Granero to Onda Cero's radio show Onda Deportiva.
De la Red:
"It is not easy to accept the fact that you cannot play when you don't know what is wrong with you. You cannot fight against something when you don't know what it is. We have to first figure out what it is and then make the appropriate decisions."
"I would be in much worse shape if I didn't handle it like think. I must keep a positive outlook and not dwell on it too much." si
"The worst is not knowing everything that is wrong. No one can tell me what I have and what is causing it. There is always an open door."
"I go to every match. I am still a member of the squad. I am injured, but not excluded from the team. I am just a player who is unavailable. I feel like part of the team and need to support my teammates."
"I prefer to think about the diagnosis than playing. I don't lose hope of returning, but I need medical proof so that the doctors and I can make that call."
"Perhaps we haven't connected well at the Bernabeu, but we have played very well on the road. We were very serious against Espanyol and we created a lot of chances."
De la Red:
"The team will become more solid as it plays more matches."
"Pellegrini knows what he wants and he expresses that to the team. He told me he has faith in me and that he will treat me like all the rest. I believe him and he has stayed true to his word. The rest all depends on the players' work. We must be ready to give our very best."
October 04, 2009
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