Raúl recalls starting out with Real Madrid 25 years ago
Today is the 25th anniversary of Raúl's first team debut for Real Madrid. It was against Zaragoza at La Romareda, the same stadium where he scored his last goal for the club.
Today is a special day for Raúl. It was exactly 25 years ago that he made his first team debut for Real Madrid - against Zaragoza on 29 October 1994. It was the start of a career in which he contributed 323 goals (he is the second top scorer in the club's history, after Cristiano Ronaldo) and during the 16 seasons he spent at Madrid, he won three Champions Leagues, two Intercontinental Cups, one UEFA Super cup, six Ligas and four Spanish Super cups.
To mark the occasion, Raúl looked back over the past quarter of a century and remembered his early days starting out as well as the best moments.
Debut: "It was a one-off moment and it's the most special one because without it, I wouldn't have been able to go on and have the career that I dreamed of and which lasted so many years. All of the dreams I'd had about being a footballer came true on that day. A lot of memories come to mind about where I lived, I was very young, I was pretty much a kid, and the dreams that I had from a really young age came true as I pulled on that shirt on 29 October in Zaragoza. When I see that shirt, a lot of memories about things I experienced as a child come flooding back".
Coming full circle at La Romareda: "Zaragoza… What a coincidence. Isn't it funny how it turned out - it was there that I played my first and last game. In the first one I had a hatful of chances and didn't score and in my last appearance in a Real Madrid shirt, with an injured ankle and in the move just before I came off, I ran towards goal, Cristiano passed to me and I managed to score what was my last goal and it was in that very same stadium. My first and last game in a Real Madrid shirt was in Zaragoza. So that's why I have a lot of affection for the city and La Romareda".
Butragueño, apoyo: "When you're 17 you don't even realise just what a big responsibility it is to play for Real Madrid. I was very young and playing football was what I loved doing. [Emilio] Butragueño was one of the players who helped me out the most. It was his last year in the team, I was there for his send-off, he had been an iconic figure, not only for Real Madrid but for the Spanish game as a whole. What I was focused on doing was trying to enjoy myself, trying to give my all every day and making the most of that moment because I didn't know how long it would last. Over time, I managed to begin my second season, my third one…".
Wearing the No. 7 shirt: "In my first season, I wore the number 17 shirt, when the shirts had the players' names and numbers on the back. During [Fabio] Capello's time in charge, he took over in 1996, I already wore the number 7 and it was a bit of a responsibility because that shirt had been worn by Madrid legends whose names are etched into the memory of all madridistas. It was always a constant responsibility, not only to wear the number 7 shirt but to wear the Real Madrid crest".
Best goal: "Luckily, I scored a lot of goals, but I always remember my first one, just like I remember the shirt from 29 October, from my debut in Zaragoza. What really excited me was to be able to run out at the Bernabéu and score my first goal, which, to cap it all, was against Atlético de Madrid in a derby. It was marvellous and incredible and came following a Laudrup pass. I'm able to remember it time and time again, as if I was watching it live right now. And then there's the goal in the Intercontinental Cup and the ones I scored in the Champions League finals. I'm sure that many of them, in one way or another, helped the team to three points, or towards a LaLiga title or to edged us towards winning the Champions League. Fortunately I managed to score a lot of goals, but the most important thing is the journey and the fact that I really enjoyed myself throughout my career".
Real Madrid: "I grew up at this club, I joined when I was 15 and as well as in professional terms, Real Madrid have given me it all on a personal level. The club has given my family and my parents everything, I then went on to have a family and my children live out every Madrid game with real passion. It's a mutual feeling in terms of what the club feels for Raúl, and what Raúl feels for the club".
Records: "Records are there to be broken. I'm sure that someone will come along and break the appearances record. I feel really pleased and proud about the many seasons that I spent at the club, the games I played, the trophies I won… I could likely have done more and we could have achieved more, but I enjoyed myself and, above all, I always tried to give my all. I always tried to help my team mates, the coaches and the club and make the fans happy with every Real Madrid match they watched and that's the most important thing for me.".
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