Latest Transfer Update at 24-04-11
Raul - admits he could have moved to United.
RAUL - MAN UNITED WAS AN OPTION
Champions League record goalscorer Raul admits Manchester United was a possible destination after he left Real Madrid last summer before he moved to Schalke.
The teams meet in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday with the former Spain striker enthusiastic about life in the Bundesliga, where he has a contract until 2012 but has expressed a desire to possibly play on after that.
United were linked with the 33-year-old last summer before he moved to Germany and Raul confirmed there was contact with the Old Trafford club.
He said: "There were a couple of possibilities and United was one but the only person who knows just how close, is (Sir) Alex Ferguson.
"I never spoke to him personally but there were contacts with United.
"Before deciding to come to SchaIke thought about England, where I had a couple of offers.
"I love the footballing culture there, the respect for the game, the atmosphere, the intensity.
"I've been at Old Trafford, Arsenal, at Liverpool watching Fernando Morientes and it's special.
"I fancied the idea. I wanted to try something different. But I've been able to experience that here."
Raul also expressed his admiration for Ryan Giggs, saying: "He's a great professional who looks after himself.
"Giggs and (Paul Scholes) are players for whom I have an enormous admiration.
"I would love to swap shirts with Ryan Giggs after the game. It would be a great honour."
Schalke will go into the first leg at the Veltins-Arena as underdogs with the prospect of facing his old side in the final with Real facing Barcelona in the other semi-final.
Raul said: "We dream of beating United.
"Let's see if we're the better team. Logic says United will be - but we'll try."
Should Ralf Rangnick's side pull off a shock victory over the Premier League leaders, Raul could come up against his old side at Wembley in May with Real facing Barcelona in the second semi-final.
Of such a scenario, Raul said: "I don't know. right now, I can't find the words. If it happens, it would be more than special.
"We didn't expect to get here so we're satisfied. Now we want a little more: we don't know when the chance will present itself again.
"A final would be even more incredible. I hope it's Madrid.....well, I don't know actually. It would be strange. Very strange.
"If you can guarantee that we'll win the final, maybe it would even be better to play Barcelona. If not, Madrid.
"Let's see what destiny has in store."
Meanwhile Raul admits he would like to continue playing when his contract with Schalke runs out.
Raul, the record scorer in the Champions League with 71 goals, said: "Next year we might not be in the Champions League but I won't leave.
"Before joining Schalke there was a chance to join other teams but this was what I needed - to play regularly, to battle a little longer.
"I feel good physically, good mentally, and I hope to continue for at least another year.
"If I feel like it, if it attracts me, I would love to carry on beyond that."