Thursday, July 29, 2010

With Raul signing, Schalke underline their ambitions

The signing of Real Madrid's legendary striker Raul on Wednesday shows Schalke means business. The Bundesliga club is building a team of youth and experience to challenge for domestic and European honors.

It is unlikely that even the most die-hard of Kevin Kuranyi supporters will feel bitter after Wednesday's announcement that Real Madrid legend Raul is replacing him in the Schalke 04 attack.

Kuranyi, who moved to Dynamo Moscow at the beginning of July, may have been the Bundesliga team's top scorer over the past four seasons but Raul Gonzalez Blanco is Real's all-time goal scoring record holder, netting more times than the great Alfredo di Stefano, and the current top scorer in the history of World Cup winners Spain.

Even if Kuranyi had become Schalke's all-time record goal scorer he would never had achieved the same reverence as Raul had at his former club, let alone across the world. It is unlikely that the departed former Germany international would have been half as loved in Gelsenkirchen if he had spent as many seasons as Raul spent in Madrid. Sixteen campaigns, six La Liga titles, three Champions League titles and 44 international goals tell their own story.

All of which makes Raul's signature on a two-year deal one of the sensations not only of this season but of any season.

It can be argued that Raul's best days are behind him and at 33, he may have a couple more seasons of top flight soccer in his weary legs. But the fact that Schalke have managed to bring such a legend to the Bundesliga when other ageing stars are being enticed to Major League Soccer by America dollars, signals not only the club's intent but the willingness of Raúl not to go quietly into the night.

To read more:,,5838104,00.html

As Schalke arena is close to our home in Bochum, we might be able to go and see him play live soon in the future.

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