Raul Gonzalez Blanco was born on June 27 1977 in Madrid, Spain. He was brought up in a modest quarter of the city, the colony of San Cristobal de los Angeles. Raul is a product of Atletico Madrid’s youth system but was picked up by rivals Real during a financial slump at his former club. Real’s coach Jorge Valdano introduced him to the starting lineup at 17, and the youngster did not disappoint scoring six goals in his first 11 games. In the summer of 1996, Spain’s national coach Javier Clemente decided not to select Raul for Euro 96 because of his age. Raul’s consistent scoring at the club level proved that he was the real deal and eventually earned him a spot as a striker in Spain’s national side. At World Cup 98, Raul did little as his country failed to advance past the group stage, but his presence became more and more significant at Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002.
On the club level, Raul’s career has been far more productive. He helped with Real Madrid’s journey to Champions League glory as they beat Juventus 1-0 at Amsterdam Arena during 1998. Two years later, Raul was once more on top of Europe as his team defeated Valencia.
History repeated itself in 2002 as Real Madrid took the Champions League title once more with a 2-1 victory over Leverkusen. Raul shined throughout the tournament and opened the score of the final. Raul is a striker in the classical sense of the word. He can disappear for 80 minutes of playing time, just to come back and score two goals and turning the scoreboard upside down. Raul has good skills on the ball: he can shoot well, beat defenders, play the ball off quickly or hold possession. He is a versatile striker but needs to be fed and directed with quality midfield support. Raul scores most of his chances but rarely produces goals on his own.
Name: Raul Gonzalez Blanco
Starting Number: #7
Born: 27 June 1977 in Madrid, Spain
Height: 180 cm / 6 feet
Weight: 68 kg / 150 pounds
Family Status: Married to Spanish model Mamen Sanz with two sons. One is named Jorge (in tribute to Jorge Valdano)
Teams: Atletico (Madrid), Real (Madrid)
Nicknames: Babystar, el Pichichi del Madrid (Madrid’s striker), Raulito
Hobbies: Reading, music, hunting and videogames
Idol: Diego Maradona