Raúl González Blanco – A Unique Spanish Forward
1. Raul Gonzalez Blanco – a Unique Spanish Forward
Raúl González Blanco, also known simply as Raúl, is a retired Spanish footballer who played as a striker. Raúl is considered one of the most important players in the history of Real Madrid and has been described as one of the greatest players of his generation.
Born in Madrid, Raúl joined the youth academy of local club Atlético Madrid at the age of eleven. He made his professional debut with Atlético in 1994 and went on to score twenty-two goals in La Liga during his first season. In 1996, he moved to city rivals Real Madrid for a then-record fee of €35 million.
At Real Madrid, Raúl won numerous trophies, including six La Liga titles, three UEFA Champions League titles, and four Spanish Super Cups. He is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, with 323 goals in 741 appearances. He also holds the record for most UEFA Champions League appearances (144) and is third in the competition’s all-time goalscoring list behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (71).
In 2005, he was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers. Raúl was selected as the UEFA Club Forward of the Year three times and was named to the UEFA Club Football All-Star Team five times. He has also been awarded the Pichichi Trophy and the European Golden Boot. In 2014, he was inducted into the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team.
Raúl announced his retirement from football on 23 October 2014. Upon his retirement, former Real Madrid president Valdano said: “Raúl defined an era and will go down in history as one of Real Madrid’s great captains.” Current Madrid president Florentino Pérez also paid tribute to Raúl, calling him a “legend”.
2. Early Life and Career
Raúl was born on 27 June 1977, in San Cristóbal de los Ángeles, Community of Madrid, Spain, to parents Antonio González Cabral (a civil servant) and Ana Blanco Perea (a housewife). He has three older siblings: Emilio, Miguel Ángel, and Sonia. When he was two years old, his family moved to El Pardo suburb in northern Madrid. As a child, he idolized Amancio Amaro Varela of Spanish club Real Madrid.
In 1987, at age ten, he began playing football for Santa Teresa:(now Atletico Madrid) youth team coached by Miguel Pardeza Zabala who would later become his agent. When he was eleven years old, he joined Atlético Madrid’s youth academy.(now Atletico Madrid)w When he was fourteen years old, he scored seventy goals for Atlético’s Cadete B team.(now Atletico Madrid)w In 1992–93 season, he helped Cadete A win their league championship.(now Atletico Madrid)w
3. Atletico Madrid
Raúl made his professional debut on 29 October 1994 against cross-town rival Real Madrid in a La Liga match.(no space) He came on as a substitute for Toni Moral in the 71st minute and scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute to give Atlético a 2–1 victory.(no space)
He scored his first professional hat-trick on 26 November 1994 against Rayo Vallecano in a 5–1 home win in the Copa del Rey.(no space) He scored twice more in the competition against Sporting Gijón(no space) and Albacete Balompié(no space) to help Atlético reach the quarter-finals where they were eliminated by Valencia.
In the 1995–96 season, he made thirty-three appearances scoring twelve goals as Atlético finished sixth in La Liga. In September 1995, he was named the club’s captain at age eighteen, becoming the youngest player to ever wear the captain’s armband for Atlético Madrid. His performances that season led to him being named the Best Young Player in Spanish football by magazine Don Balón.
4. Real Madrid
On 29 August 1996, Raúl signed for city rivals Real Madrid in a world record transfer fee of €35 million, becoming the most expensive teenager in football history at that time. He made his debut for Madrid on 14 September 1996 against Valencia CF in a La Liga match, coming on as a substitute for Valdano in the 61st minute. He scored his first goal for Madrid two weeks later against FC Barcelona in El Clásico. Madrid went on to win the match 3–2 with Raúl scoring the winning goal in injury time.
5. Later Career
In the 2005–06 season, Raúl missed several months of action due to an injury he suffered during a league match against CA Osasuna on 4 December 2005. He returned to action on 15 April 2006 against RCD Espanyol, scoring a goal in Madrid’s 3–1 victory. He finished the season with nineteen goals in thirty-six appearances as Madrid won their thirtieth La Liga title.
In the 2006–07 season, Raúl struggled with injuries and only made nineteen appearances scoring seven goals as Madrid finished second in La Liga behind Barcelona. On 24 February 2007, he captained Madrid for the 200th time in a 3–1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League round of sixteen. He finished the season with sixteen goals in all competitions as Madrid won their ninth UEFA Champions League title defeating Liverpool FC 2–1 in the final.
6. Jorge Valdano
Jorge Valdano is a retired Argentine footballer who played as a forward and is currently a television pundit and sports director of Real Madrid. Valdano began his career with local club River Plate making his first team debut in 1976. He helped River win back-to-back Argentine Primera División titles in 1975 and 1976 before moving to Spain to sign with Valencia CF in 1978.
At Valencia, he won two Copa del Rey titles and scored the winning goal in the 1980 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final against Arsenal FC. In 1984, he moved to Real Madrid where he won one La Liga title and two UEFA Cups before retiring in 1987 due to injury. Following his retirement, Valdano became a television pundit and later had stints working as a coach and sports director for several clubs including Valencia, Atlético Madrid, and the Spanish national team.
In 2009, Valdano was appointed as the director of football at Real Madrid where he served until 2011. In July 2011, he was sacked by Madrid following a disagreement with then-manager José Mourinho. He currently works as a television pundit and writes a column for El País.
7. Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama is a Brazilian sports club based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The club was founded on 21 August 1898 by Portuguese immigrants and is named after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama.
Vasco da Gama is one of the most popular clubs in Brazil with over 20 million supporters. The club has won four Campeonato Brasileiro Série A titles, three Copa Libertadores titles, one Intercontinental Cup, and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Valencia Club de Fútbol, commonly referred to as Valencia CF or simply Valencia, is a Spanish football club based in Valencia, Spain. The club was founded on 18 March 1919 and currently plays in La Liga, the top tier of Spanish football. Valencia have won six La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles, two UEFA Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, and one UEFA Super Cup.
Japan is an island country in East Asia located in the northwest Pacific Ocean. The country consists of four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. The capital and largest city is Tokyo which is also the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people.
Japan is a member of the United Nations, the G8, and the G20. The country has the world’s third largest economy by nominal GDP and fourth largest economy by purchasing power parity.
Bullfighting is a traditional sport in Spain and Portugal in which bulls are fought in arenas for the entertainment of spectators. The bullfighter, or matador, faces off against the bull using a cape and a sword.
In Spain, bullfighting is known as corridas de toros or tauromaquia while in Portugal it is known as tourada or touros. The sport has been criticized by animal rights activists who argue that it is cruel and inhuman.
11. Arturo Perez Reverte
Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez is a Spanish novelist and journalist. He is best known for his novels The Club Dumas, The Queen of the South, and The Hunter.
Pérez-Reverte was born in Cartagena, Spain. He studied Journalism at the Complutense University of Madrid and later worked as a war correspondent in Africa, the Middle East, and Central America. He covered the conflicts in Angola, the Persian Gulf War, the civil war in El Salvador, and the Bosnian War.
In 2001, he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities. He has also been a member of the Royal Spanish Academy since 2003.
12. Kiss the Wedding Ring
Kiss the Wedding Ring is a Spanish saying which means to show respect to someone in a position of authority. The saying is often used in relation to the Spanish monarchy or the Roman Catholic Church.
The saying is derived from the medieval practice of kissing the ring of a person in a position of authority such as a king or bishop. In modern times, the saying is often used as a proverb to encourage respect for authority figures.
13. Diego Simeone
Diego Pablo Simeone González is an Argentine football manager and former player who is currently the manager of Atlético Madrid. As a player, he represented Argentina, Italy, and Spain at international level. He was capped over one hundred times for Argentina and played in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups.
Simeone began his managerial career with Racing Club de Avellaneda in 2006. He then had stints with Estudiantes de La Plata, River Plate, San Lorenzo, Racing Club de Avellaneda, and Catania before being appointed as manager of Atlético Madrid in 2011.
At Atlético Madrid, he has won one La Liga title, one UEFA Europa League title, one UEFA Super Cup, and one Copa del Rey. He has also been named the La Liga Manager of the Year twice and was shortlisted for the FIFA World Coach of the Year award in 2014.