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When Raúl became Spain’s top scorer

February 12, 2017

This day in football history

On 12 February 2003, Raúl González scored two goals in a 3–1 win over Germany to become Spain’s all-time top scorer.

Raúl, who played 16 seasons at Real Madrid before moving to Schalke in 2010, made his first full international appearance in 1996. He scored only five times in his first three years, but hit his stride in 1999 with 10 goals — the most ever scored for Spain by one player in a single year. He never replicated that performance, but continued to be a reliable striker and took over as captain in 2002.

The friendly with Germany came in the midst of Spain’s qualification campaign for Euro 2004. Played in Mallorca, Raúl scored the opening goal in the 30th minute. It was the 30th of his career, beating the former record of 29 held jointly with his Real Madrid teammate Fernando Hierro. Germany’s Fredi Bobic equalized for the visitors eight minutes later, but Raúl restored the lead in with a 77th-minute penalty kick. Guti added a third for the hosts to end the day at 3–1.

Raúl scored a total of 44 goals for Spain before his retirement from international play in 2006. A record at the time, it has since been surpassed by David Villa, who scored 59 goals between 2005 and 2014.





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