Still top of the all-time UEFA Champions League scoring chart, Raúl González reached another landmark in a stellar career at the weekend when the 35-year-old played his 1,000th game as a professional. The former Real Madrid CF and FC Schalke 04 forward also holds the UEFA Champions League appearance record and brought up his latest milestone while in action for Qatari club al-Saad. UEFA.com picks out five of Raúl's most memorable matches in European football.
Real Madrid CF 4-2 Club Atlético de Madrid
Spanish Liga, 5 November 1994
Raúl made his Madrid debut on 29 October 1994 against Real Zaragoza at La Romareda and despite his team losing 3-2, the striker produced a standout display. He subsequently made the starting XI the following week against city rivals Club Atlético de Madrid, for his first senior outing at the Santiago Bernabéu. Raúl had a hand in the Merengues' second goal and added the third himself before being substituted to a warm ovation from the home crowd – a sign of things to come.
Real Madrid CF 2-1 CR Vasco da Gama
European/South American Cup, 1 December 1998
Having won the 1997/98 UEFA Champions League with a 1-0 victory over Juventus, Madrid played in the European/South American Cup in Japan against Brazil's CR Vasco da Gama. Vasco's Juninho Pernambucano cancelled out an early own goal but with seven minutes remaining Raúl came into his own. The No7 latched onto a long diagonal pass from Clarence Seedorf, cut inside one defender before dummying another and the goalkeeper, to slot the winner for Guus Hiddink's side. It was a strike that became known as the 'Aguanís'.
Spain 9-0 Austria
UEFA EURO 2000 qualifying, 27 March 1999
Despite delivering some sensational showings at international level, Raúl failed to lift a trophy with La Roja. He made his debut in 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifying against the Czech Republic on 9 October 1996 and went on to figure in three World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006) and two UEFA European Championships (2000, 2004). Raúl notched 44 goals in 102 internationals with some of his best moments coming in UEFA EURO 2000 qualifying – most notably a 9-0 thrashing of Austria in which he scored four in a striking masterclass.
Real Madrid CF 3-0 Valencia CF
UEFA Champions League final, 24 May 2000
After beating Manchester United FC in the quarter-finals and FC Bayern München in the semis – with Raúl key to both victories – Madrid claimed another European Cup. Raúl registered Madrid's third goal as Vicente del Bosque's men landed their eighth continental crown; he would later become the first player to score in two UEFA Champions League finals when grabbing the opener in the 2-1 triumph over Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 2002. Back in Paris, he said: "With everything we have gone through this season, the ups and downs, we have returned to our best form once again." The attacker ended the 1999/2000 campaign with a tournament-high ten goals.
FC Internazionale Milano 2-5 FC Schalke 04
UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg, 5 April 2011
After 16 years and 16 major trophies, Raúl left Madrid in summer 2010 but continued to showcase his quality in the Bundesliga. Raúl also featured in Schalke's eye-catching 2010/11 UEFA Champions League run – where one of the highlights was a 5-2 San Siro success against title holders Inter. He netted the goal that gave the Gelsenkirchen team a 3-2 lead and made a lasting impression on the Schalke fans, who will forever remember the former Spain captain's role in helping them reach a first semi-final. "I am very proud to be able to dedicate this win to all Schalke supporters," Raúl said after the humbling of Inter.
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