Ronaldo keen to take shirt as Real prepare for Raul departure

July 23rd, 2010 - 4:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, July 23 (DPA) Cristiano Ronaldo is keen to take over Raul Gonzalez’s legendary number 7 shirt at Real Madrid, sports daily Marca said Friday.
Ronaldo had to accept the number 9 shirt last season after his world record transfer from Manchester United, and the club managed to sell thousands of CR9 replica shirts.

But now, with Raul reportedly on his way to Germany’s Schalke 04, Ronaldo wants the famed number, the same he wears for Portugal and wore at Old Trafford.

Raul, 33, is poised to sign a two-year contract with Schalke.

His departure, which has still not been officially announced, will end an era at the Estadio Bernabeu. He is the top goalscorer in the club’s proud history, ahead of the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano, with 228 league goals in 550 matches since his debut in 1994.

Raul Gonzalez Blanco, to give him his full name, is also the leading Spain scorer, having put away 44 goals in 102 caps 1996-2006.

His goals helped Real win three Champions Leagues and six Ligas. But Raul won nothing at all with Spain asLa Roja only started to pick up trophies after manager Luis Aragones took the controversial decision to drop Raul in 2006.

According to AS Friday, Real are planning a “farewell and homage” to Raul August 24, the date scheduled for their annual pre-season Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu friendly match.

AS said that Real’s opponents will be either Schalke - with Raul playing half of the match for each side - or a world XI.

The paper said that the top players of Planet Football - Lionel Messi, Diego Forln, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Xavi, Carles Puyol and Andres Iniesta - will be invited.

The August 24 match will probably also be the chance for the “madridista” faithful to say goodbye to another long-serving veteran: playmaker Guti.

Jose Maria Gutierrez Hernandez, also aged 33, is about to sign for Turkish giants Besiktas, after 14 years of midfield majesty but also of infuriating inconsistency and annoying attitudes.

Marca said Friday that Xabi Alonso is keen to inherit Guti’s number 14 shirt.

New Real coach Jose Mourinho is determined to build a new young team without Guti and Raul. Real’s summer signings so far have not been expensive “galacticos” but youngsters Angel Di Maria, Pedro Leon and Sergio Canales.

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