Metzelder: Man United wanted Raul

Spanish striker Raul was wanted by Manchester United ahead of his move to Germany to join Schalke last summer, according to team-mate Christoph Metzelder.

The Bernabeu legend ended his 15-season affiliation with Real Madrid last year when he signed for the Gelsenkirchen outfit, having notched up more than 200 goals for Real and being made club captain when Fernando Hierro left the club in 2003.

Despite the mouthwatering prospect of working under Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, Raul decided he didn’t want to play third fiddle at his boyhood club for another season, and moved to Schalke in search of regular first team action.

The striker received numerous offers from various leagues all over the world. However, Schalke team-mate Metzelder has revealed that there was also a lucrative deal on the table from their upcoming Champions League Semi-Final opponents, Manchester United.

They [Manchester United] tried to sign him this season," Metzelder explained. "He talked about it to me. I don't know if he thought about it.

Metzelder had already agreed to join Schalke before the end of last season, and admits to trying to persuade Raul to join him in Gelsenkirchen.

"A player like him has offers, from clubs in the United States, England but also Schalke. I tried to convince him.

"He got to know Germany in the 2006 World Cup and knows the atmosphere, the stadiums, the infrastructure.

 I said to him: 'You have to experience it'. He's a big player and his influence is great."

Since moving to Schalke, both players have become an integral part of the squad and have proved crucial in their team’s adventure to the final four of the Champions League, where they will meet Sir Alex Ferguson's Red Devils for a place in the final at Wembley.

By Killian Woods