The end of an era
To date there has not been a day with such emotional milieu for me. A day Madrid fans wished would never come, the day when their talisman bid adieu to his Home, Santiago Bernabau.
Ever since the left footed maestro donned the Whites of Real 15 years ago, he’s been the foundation around which the Real Madrid success was build. A true Madridista can never imagine the whites stepping onto the green without their stalwarts. For years they’ve cheered and cherished the two favorite sons of Real, Raul Gonzalez Blanco #7 and Jose Maria Guti #14.
Like many around the world, Raul was the reason I started loving football and Real Madrid. The awe-inspiring, unassuming striker would find place in the heart of every Madridista and every football lover around the world. It’s hard to pinpoint why Raul is such folklore. But one thing that always comes to your mind is his unparallel love for this club. Right from his first day of stepping on to the field, to donning the captains arm band, to the very last day he played for his love, Raul has always played his heart out. Apart from being a magician on the pitch Raul has always been the leader personified, inside and outside the green.
Right from his first outing for Real everyone knew that Raul was special. His pace, dribbling and most of all his vision and ability to be at the right place at the right time left his opponents flabbergasted. Memories etched into one’s mind would be the way Raul celebrated each time after scoring; the trademark kiss on his wedding ring, which would symbolize his undying love for this wife. He scoring against arch rivals Barcelona at Camp Nou and hushing the crowd is another favorite moment. Though he’s been an inspiration throughout his tenure at Madrid everyone would agree that his best years were between 98 and 2000.
Raul became branded for his strength in the air and his finishing. He made the chip shot his own. But above all it was his grace that captivated one and all.
He would continue to be Madrid’s all time top scorer and the highest scorer in the Champions league; playing a pivotal role in Real Madrids success in both the Spanish league and the Champions league, after being handed over the captains arm band in 2003. As the days got thinner we would continue to be an inspiration both on and off the field. Cheering on the team and being a leader even if he was stuck on the bench.
It’s been years now since Raul has left his abode, but no true madridista will ever fail to remember this Los Blancos emissary, their Captain..
Some people leave, some stay, while some will always, always live in our hearts.....