Three-time UEFA Champions League winner Raúl González described reaching the quarter-finals with new club FC Schalke 04 as "like a dream." After disposing of Valencia CF 4-2 on aggregate, Raúl would now like to avoid facing another Spanish club in the last eight.
The all-time UEFA Champions League record goalscorer tasted glory in the competition with Real Madrid CF in 1998, 2000 and 2002, yet the 33-year-old's appetite for success is far from sated. After drawing 1-1 with Valencia in Spain, Schalke recovered from going behind in the tie to a Ricardo Costa goal at Arena AufSchalke. The hosts showed character and ability as Jefferson Farfán equalised with a fine free-kick, before Mario Gavranović marked his first Champions League game with a goal, and then Farfán put the seal on it with a clipped finish in the fourth minute of added time.
With Schalke through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2008, a beaming Raúl is more convinced than ever that he made the right choice in joining the Bundesliga club last summer. He said: "Valencia are a quality side and this was a really tough match. Anything could have happened in this game. It didn't make it easy for us that they scored so early, but we were good enough to come back into the match and I'm really happy about that. It's a dream come true to be in the quarter-finals.
"Now we can't wait to find out who'll we play and we'll have fun playing more Champions League matches. In the next round, I hope we will not play a Spanish team. I'm looking forward to playing more top-level matches.
I would like to play the semi-finals with Schalke as they've never been there before."
Farfán was loath to take personal credit despite scoring twice to take his tally to four goals in seven UEFA Champions League fixtures this term, and also having a hand in Gavranović's strike. "After my equalising goal, we knew we had a good chance of qualifying for the next round and I'm really happy that I could contribute to turning the match," he said.
"Everybody worked hard and we were focused for 90 minutes. Even though they went in front, we never gave up; we didn't get down on ourselves and we waited for our chances to come. We were rewarded for that."
Unlike Raúl, Farfán has no particular wishes for the draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals, to be held on 18 March. "
I don't mind who we play; it's bound to be a hard tie," he said.
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