Gelsenkirchen - Chants of "Rauuuuuuuuuul" resonated for miles around the Veltins Arena on Saturday evening when legendary striker Raul Gonzalez Blanco stepped on to the pitch for one last time.
For one night only, fans gathered under the motto "Gracias Raul!" to pay homage to the unforgettable Spaniard in a testimonial match involving his current club Al-Sadd Sports and a Schalke XI.
Raul made a name for himself at Real Madrid CF, but enjoyed further success in a memorable two-year spell in Gelsenkirchen. As well as scoring 28 league goals in 66 appearances, the six-time Spanish champion and three-time UEFA Champions League winner lifted the DFB Cup in 2011 and undoubtedly opened the Bundesliga door to a number of compatriots, including Javi Martinez and Pep Guardiola.
For that, the German game will be eternally grateful. Yet his legacy will live on, not only by way of the growing number of Spanish nationals acting on the allure of the Bundesliga, but also through Schalke starlet Max Meyer, who has been given the honour of wearing the iconic No7 jersey in 2013/14. Schalke fans, for one, will be hoping some of the magic rubs off.
At the double
Raul played a half for each team and, in front of 61,973 supporters, netted a brace in the second period for his former employers, scoring the final two goals in a comfortable 9-0 win for the Royal Blues.
Jefferson Farfan, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Adam Szalai likewise grabbed two goals apiece, while youngster Leon Goretzka also got in on the act.