Spanish legend Raúl González Blanco, universally known as Raúl, one of the greatest goalscorers in the history of football, has been named the newest Laureus Ambassador.
Raúl played 741 times for Real Madrid, scoring a record 323 goals, and played in teams which won six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues. For Spain he played in three FIFA World Cups, in 1998, 2002 and 2006, and in the 2002 and 2004 European Championships. He has been captain of both teams.
Raúl, who now plays for New York Cosmos, said: “It is a privilege for me and also a responsibility to be a part of the Laureus Ambassadors team. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity of giving back everything that sport has given to me, thanks to this organisation that is involved in more than 150 social projects. I feel a great commitment to help get a better world and I will put all my effort into achieving that. It is an honour to be part of the Laureus Family.”
Throughout his professional career he always gave maximum effort whenever he played and was never shown a red card. He is a role model for countless young footballers around the world. His sportsmanship, his personal values and his passion for sport are among the reasons why he has been named a Laureus Ambassador.
Laureus World Sports Academy Member and French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly said: “I am delighted that Raúl is now a Laureus Ambassador. He was a phenomenon as a player, one of the truly great goalscorers in the history of the game. I played against him many times for my clubs and my country and always found him a very talented, but very fair opponent. In a professional career lasting almost 20 years, he was never sent off. That is an amazing tribute to his sense of fairplay and honour. I look forward to working with him for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.”
Gabriel Masfurroll, President of the Laureus Foundation in Spain, said: “It is an honour to be able to have Raúl as an Ambassador of the Foundation. He is a legend of our football and a sportsman and person of impeccable credentials. I feel very happy to have Raúl as a member of the Laureus Family.”
After 16 years at Real Madrid, in 2010 Raúl moved to German club Schalke 04, for whom he played 66 times and scored 28 goals. In February 2012, he scored the 400th goal of his career and at the end of that season moved to the Middle East to play for Qatar club Al Sadd. On March 5, 2014, Raúl announced he would retire from professional football at the end of the Qatari football season, marking the end of a 20-year senior career. However, in October 2014, he was persuaded to return to the game and signed a contract with New York Cosmos, for whom he still plays.
Raúl joins an impressive list of current and former sportsmen and women around the world who support and promote the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Ambassadors volunteer their time to work for the Laureus Foundation, whose mission is to use sport as the means to combat some of the world’s toughest social challenges facing young people today such as juvenile crime, gangs, HIV/AIDS, discrimination, social exclusion, lack of education, landmines awareness and health problems such as obesity.
Since its inception Laureus has raised over €60 million to improve the lives of millions of young people and currently supports more than 150 community sports projects in 34 countries.