Raul Gonzalez to lead Al Sadd against Real Madrid
Raul will return to the stadium where he played for 16 seasons. To commemorate the occasion, the former captain of Real Madrid will play 45 minutes for either team.
The Santiago Bernabeu Trophy is dedicated to the memory of longtime Real Madrid president Santiago Bernabeu. He is generally considered the one to whom much of the credit can be given for transforming Real Madrid from the second most successful club in Madrid into one of the top two in Spain, and the most successful in Europe. He was the club's President for 35 years, between September 1943 and June 1978.
And there is no better occasion to honour the club's greatest ever player than a well-deserved recognition from adoring fans in the 86,000 capacity stadium.
In 16 seasons with Real, Raul played the most matches (741) and scored 323 goals, helping the club win three Champions Leagues, six La Ligas, two Intercontinental Cups, one European Super Cup and four Spanish Super Cups.
Having had a stint in the German Bundesliga with Schalke where he scored 40 goals in 98 total appearances during his two-year stay at Schalke 04. He was honoured with a farewell friendly match in Germany recently. The Spaniard played the first half for his current club before swapping shirts at half time inside Veltins- Arena, in Gelsenkirchen as he scored twice for the Bundesliga side.
The former Asian champions Al Sadd which won the Qatar Stars League last season with Raul as captain, will use the match as rehearsal for the new football season. The Hassan Ammouta side will host Al Rayyan in their opening league match on September 13.
Both Raul Gonzalez and Cristiano Ronaldo are likely to wear the No. 7 jersey in the match, where Raul switches for Real in the second half of the encounter.
A message on the club's website www.realmadrid.com read: œTo talk about Raul is to talk about one of the best players in the sport (not to mention Real Madrid). It means talking about titles, records, goals, but it also refers to one of the club's most legendary players, loved for being a natural- born winner and for his spirit of sacrifice. Raul's romance with Real started from the academy in 1992 and, after a fleeting passage through the club's junior ranks, made his first-tier debut in Zaragoza on October 29, 1994. It didn't take long for the striker to make a name for himself, giving a brilliant performance and scoring a goal in his second match with the squad in a derby against Atletico. With his spot on the first-team secured, Raul helped Real win La Liga in 1994/95 and became a team leader œPerseverance was the characteristic that best marks Raul's career. Little by little he broke club records until becoming the Real player with the most games played and the most goals scored in club history, the statement added.
He also boasts an endless list of individual trophies. To date, he's still highest scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League with 77 goals.