Real Madrid CF captain Raúl González will make his 109th UEFA Champions League appearance on Wednesday and is looking to another push for glory.
Real Madrid CF's iconic captain Raúl González will make his 109th UEFA Champions League appearance on Wednesday and is looking forward to another push for the European crown.
The Spain striker, whose record is equalled by former Merengue Roberto Carlos, goes into his club's second Group C match against S.S. Lazio in Rome in fine form. "I'm happy both with the team's form and with my own form. We've got off to a good start this season but that's all it is – a start. From a personal point of view, I'm playing in a more forward role now, just as I was at the end of last year, and I think that's where I play best."
With three UEFA Champions League titles in his locker, Raúl, now 30, is bidding to lead the Spanish champions to a tenth triumph in the competition: "We haven't been in the later stages in recent times so this year we want to get to the final. But we know we have to take it step by step, and this match is just one of those tricky fixtures we need to overcome if we are to manage that."
If Raúl believes Lazio do not have "great individual players", they are still a team to be wary of. "They play like a typical Italian side – defending, playing on the break, and taking their chances. For us, it will be difficult because Lazio will give their all against Real Madrid," he added.
The Madrid talisman is just as passionate about playing the right way as he is about winning. "We want to play dream football and produce a spectacle for the public," said Raúl, who has scored 192 goals in 451 Primera División appearances for the Santiago Bernabéu outfit. "Lazio are a fine club with a great stadium, but a good win will give us the chance to build confidence."
A regular starter under Bernd Schuster, Madrid's No7 has found the target three times this term and defends the new coach's rotation policy. "It's a long season and you have to be at your best when you are playing. Players need to feel important and when they get the chance to play they should take the opportunity. It all adds to competition," he said.