Raul's decision to leave Schalke at the end of the season was, although not entirely unexpected, a choice met with disappointment, not least by GiveMeFootball.

The 34-year-old goalscoring veteran revealed his intention to continue playing, but will do so away from Europe in a far less demanding league than the Bundesliga and, presumably, for a significantly greater salary.

Raul is, perhaps, the finest player of his generation never to be awarded the prestigious Ballon d'Or and, even in his twilight years, retains a knack for finding the back of the net.

To celebrate the career of the Real Madrid legend in European football, GMF has decided to reminisce about five of his finest goals over his 18 seasons as a professional.

Having scored 362 times in his club career alone, there will always be debate as to which goals are the best of Raul's illustrious career, but we have tried to mix our choices with strikes demonstrating his skills, and those which proved to be significant.

Of course, we want your input too, so join the debate and post your favourite goals in the comments section below.

Real Madrid v Vasco Da Gama - 1998

This goal was enough to earn Raul the man-of-the-match award in the now defunct Intercontinental Cup, against Copa Libertadores winners Vasco Da Gama.

Raul's run is spotted by the Real Madrid centre-back and, after watching the long pass sail over his shoulder, the former takes the ball under control with his left foot.

He then commits the Vasco centre-back to the ground - cutting inside onto his right foot - before outfoxing another opposition defender, and slotting past a bamboozled goalkeeper. Watch the goal here.

Real Madrid v Valencia - 2000

Clearly not the most breathtaking or Raul's 406 career goals, but his strike makes it onto our list due to its significance, coming in the final of the Champions League 12 years ago.

Valencia commit players forward desperately searching for a way back into the game at 2-0 down, but that proves to be their downfall is Raul is set clear on the halfway line without an opposition player in sight.

The Spaniard carries the ball all the way into the opposing area, where he keeps a cool head to round the goalkeeper and confirm an eighth European Cup for Real. Watch the goal here.

Two years later, Raul became the first player ever to score in two Champions League finals, when he netted the opener in the victory against Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park.

Real Madrid v Barcelona - 2002

Raul scored 15 goals in El Clasico encounters during 16 seasons as a Real Madrid player, and this strike was his only one against Barcelona in European competition.

Real Madrid's progression into the final had looked relatively assured after they won 2-0 at the Nou Camp in the first-leg of this Champions League semi-final encounter.

But Los Blancos still had to finish the job in Madrid, and Raul opened the scoring with this thunderbolt into the top corner from 20 yards. Watch the goal here.

The game at the Bernabeu ended 1-1 and, of course, Real went on to win the final - their last triumph in the Champions League.

Schalke v Cologne - 2011

Raul was finishing like Lionel Messi while the latter was still playing on the streets of Buenos Aires, and this goal against Cologne last year proved he still possessed a delicate touch when presented with an opportunity.

Raul plays a neat one-two on the edge of the opposition box; receiving the ball from a delightful flick over the Cologne back four.

The Spaniard takes the ball under control expertly and, as he pirouettes, spots the goalkeeper advancing from his line. Raul then proceeds to scoop the ball over the 'keeper and into the back of the net. Watch the goal here.

Athletic Bilbao v Schalke - 2012

Raul will leave Schalke boasting the record as the highest ever goalscorer in European football, and few strikes will have been better than his last in continental competition.

The veteran scored twice in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final encounter with Athletic Bilbao, as the latter triumphed 4-2 in Gelsenkirchen.

The second of which was a stunning volley, but Raul trumped that strike with a screamer in the second leg of the tie - his 77th goal in European competition. Watch the goal here.

 


 

So, there you have it - five of GMF's favourite Raul goals. Let us know yours in the comments section below.

Topics:
#Europa League
#European News
#UEFA Champions League
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