Raul Gonzalez Blanco, more commonly known as Raul, is one of the most prolific Real Madrid strikers of all time and when he left the Santiago Bernabeu, his link with a move to Old Trafford never materialised.
But in an interview with Radio MARCA, his agent Gines Carjaval has revealed that Raul turned down the opportunity to join United on the grounds that he wasn’t offered a guarantee about his game time after leaving Madrid on a free transfer.
“The first decision [Raul made] was to leave and the second, whether to go to a rival or not.,” his agent confirmed.
“He chose a rival. There were some offers made by rival clubs, among others Manchester United. But one person, [Schalke coach] Felix Magath, convinced him to go with him and fight for Schalke.
“The offer from United was serious, but at the same time there was some doubt about his role in the team. If you’re going to play second fiddle, you might as well stay at home. For the sake of learning English, you can stay in Madrid.
“Felix Magath came to Madrid to convince [Raul]. This isn’t easy for someone like him, a man who has won everything as player and coach. He negotiated with [Christoph] Metzelder [who also joined Schalke from Madrid that summer] and between the two of them they convinced him.”
Raul chose to end an 18 year association with Madrid in the summer of 2010 after falling down the pecking order at the Bernabeu and eventually moved to German outfit Schalke but not before some deliberation after United made a ‘serious’ offer for the 36-year-old.
Sir Alex Ferguson was a not so secret admirer of Real Madrid’s record goal-scorer, and prior to a meeting with Raul and his ‘galactico’ teammates in 2003, he famously wished that Raul wouldn’t travel for the game.
“I hope he doesn’t like travelling, failing that we will stop him entering the country,” he said.
“Real buy these big players like Figo, Zidane and Ronaldo but I think the best player in the world is Raul.”
Plenty eluded Sir Alex Ferguson in his terrific reign as United boss but Raul remains amongst the best to say ‘no’ to Fergie. While there were no certainties that the forward would have been a success, a highly-profitable spell in German football (40 goals in 98 appearances) suggests that he may have fared well at United, especially given his ability to link midfield and attack in the second striker role.