Interview: Raúl

Raul has returned to Spain. He plays today with his team, Shalke 04, against Valencia. Faced with dozens of journalists, talked about the match, the Spanish League and Real Madrid.

Raul at press conference with Shalke 04 jersey

You were greeted at the airport in Valencia with applause, is this a special journey?
"It is a special game. This is the first time I return to Spain after eight months. I am very pleased with the reception. People show me affection and I thank it. A Champions League knockout tie is always special, and more against a great team like Valencia at a great stadium like Mestalla. I'm looking forward to playing and hope to get a good result."

How do you expect will Mestalla fans receive you? You have not been much loved in her visits with Real Madrid?
"That's not my problem. I come to play a game, to enjoy a Champions League tie and try to do my best for my team. The rest does not worry me."

Would you have preferred to face Real Madrid? Do you think like Emery that Real Madrid and Barcelona are favorites for the Champions League?
"The draw has been in this way and must be accepted. I wished they had not been a Spanish team, but here we are. The Madrid and Barcelona are the strongest, but here there are always surprises, not rule out Chelsea, Manchester or Inter. Schalke at the moment, step by step and think about Valencia."

Raul and the Champions League have always gone hand in hand. If next year Schalke does not play Champions League, would you consider a way out?
"At present and for a year and a half Raul and Schalke go together."

What differences do you see between the Liga and the Bundesliga? In Spain the league is only about two, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
"They are different competitions. In the Bundesliga the latter can beat the leader, is a more physical game. I'm having a great time and I'm enjoying it. In the stadium there is always a great atmosphere and being a great experience. I know other methods, another way of playing and living football. I'm trying to get everything good. I hope to be two years and even longer if the body holds."

What is your relationship with Real Madrid?
"I have spent 16 years at the club. I do not leave and forget about it. I am following Madrid, and Real Madrid will always be in my heart. But I am all about Schalke now, my head is here and I will give everything for this club."

Do you believe Madrid can win the Liga?
"Of course, but if Barcelona continues playing like that, it will be difficult for the title to escape them. That is another history."

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