Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Raul Presents Case Against "The One Club Man"

When Raul sealed a move away from the Santiago Bernabeau over the summer, many saw it as the end of what had been a glittering career. It was a pity they said, that Raul had wasted the chance to go down in the history books as a "one club man."

Since the completion of his move to Schalke on a free transfer though, Raul has gone from strength to strength. Last month, the Spaniard netted a vital away goal at Valencia's Mestalla stadium, and earlier today it was his header which propelled Schake in to the final of the German Cup. Couple those strikes with healthy goalscoring form in the Bundesliga, and one can clearly see the benefits of Raul's move away from Real Madrid.

Had Raul remained a Merengues player, what would have become of him? Maybe he would have found playing time easier to come by in the wake of Gonzalo Higuain's injury, or maybe he would have remained, firmly on the bench, wasting precious years of his career. What Raul has proved with his move to Germany and subsequent success, is that being a "one club man" isn't all it's cracked up to be. Look at Francesco Totti and Alex Del Piero, both have struggled for playing time this season, and one wonders whether they might not have been better off moving abroad.

The career of a professional footballer is all about picking the right moments. When Thierry Henry left Arsenal, he had picked the right moment. Arsene Wenger's side were no longer a dominant side in the English Premier League, while Barcelona were beginning to reassert themselves in Spain. Because of his move abroad, Henry, though never a "one club man" of course, improved his own stock, and he ended up picking up a precious European Cup. In the same way, Raul, realizing that playing time would be scarce under Jose Mourinho, chose to move to Germany, where he has furthered his career and even put himself in with a great chance of securing another trophy.

Critics would point to the careers of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, which have continued to flourish, defying the passing  of time. But I would point out that Gary Neville maybe had it in him to play a few more years at a club of a lower standard then United, at home, or even abroad. Instead Neville wasted away on the United bench until retirement became the only option.

Would the aforementioned Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero be better off if they were to terminate their search for the title of "one club man," could they not add luster to the twilight years of their career by performing well for a team of a lower caliber to their current one? I imagine that both Totti and Del Piero could have found playing time at a middle of the road team in Spain, and, who knows, maybe their contribution would have been as valuable as Raul's at Schalke.

Through his actions, Raul has showed the world that a player can leave a big club, surrender their "one club man" status and still be a success. In future years, I would hope that more and more top class players reconsider retirement and join a lesser team, in doing so delighting their new team's fans as well as improving their own illustrious career. Is it not more impressive to leave an imprint on two teams instead of one? Is it not a fine way to spend the latter years of a career, writing a new exciting page in the history books? Of course it is.


  1. Hey Y.B.nio!! Congrats on your blog, its really good! It almost makes me want to follow "football" (key word: almost). There's just one thing you MUST remember when discussing soccer, especialy over the internet where I can't remind you...

    "It doesn't matter whether you win or lose... as long as you van eat pie afterward." That's right, I've begun reading Unseen Academicals! Again, congrats on your blog and my condolences for Man U's loss to Chelsea the other day. I hope you've gotten over it. (Haha)


  2. P.S., sorry about the "v" typo. Please don't mock me.