Categorized | Jason Parker

Local Boy Does Good

Raul breaks the record.

Raul breaks the record.

As I was watching Raul volley home Sergio Ramos’ cross for the goal that would make him Real Madrid’s greatest goal scorer of all time, I couldn’t help but wonder if Raul isn’t the most underrated player of his generation. In addition to being Madrid’s leading scorer, he’s also scored the most goals in Champions League history. These are no small feats that the hometown boy has accomplished. Why then, has he never finished in the top three in the FIFA World Player of the Year voting? Maybe it’s because Raul is a throwback. He’s played for one club, been married to one woman for ten years and didn’t even cause a ruckus when he was unceremonious dropped from the Spanish national team.

But that one club is Real Madrid and the one woman is model Mamen Sanz. Which is why it’s even more interesting that he never gets mentioned as one of the greatest players in the world. In an eight year span from 1994 to 2003 he averaged 24.75 goals per season, won La Liga four times and lifted the Champions League trophy three times. Twice during that period, the Ballon d’Or went to one of his teammates. He might not have been the flashy midfielder that Luis Figo was, or a tabloid regular Brazilian with flair like Ronaldo, he was just consistent. In a team of stars, Raul just did his job−score goals. And he obviously hasn’t stopped scoring, averaging over 15 goals a season since that blistering eight year stretch.

Upon breaking the record, Raul said that he hopes to continue scoring goals for Madrid. I hope that he does continue to score and get the 35 goals that he needs to become La Liga’s all-time leader. Even if he doesn’t get the recognition from the media that he may deserve, his place in the history of Spanish football is secure. I think Cesc Fabregas summed it up best when he said, “Raul is a reference for all football players…everyone associates him with Real Madrid.”

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