World Player of the Week: Raul - Schalke

Join in saluting another player worthy of global recognition
Welcome to's regular feature: World Player of the Week. Each week our worldwide team of editors will put forward a selected candidate, as chosen by International, who deserves recognition for achieving something special that matchday. It won't necessarily be the best player in the world - at least not usually - but whoever we nominate will have accomplished something amazing. It might be for a particularly awesome performance or for something praiseworthy off the pitch - either way, the person in question deserves special attention... World Player of the Week #135: Raul
Club: Schalke
Country: Spain
Scored a hat-trick against Werder Bremen

When Raul left Real Madrid for Schalke in the summer of 2010, many felt that he was finished. Not considered part of the Spain national set-up, the veteran striker had fallen down the pecking order in Jose Mourinho’s squad, and he was set to wane into the sunset.

Raul, though, rediscovered his form in Germany and began scoring again. The 34-year-old found the target 13 times in 34 appearances in the Bundesliga for Schalke last season, and has continued to score goals this campaign.

On Saturday, Raul netted a hat-trick against Werder Bremen and inspired the Royal Blues to a 5-0 victory at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen. The Spanish striker’s contribution was vital as it came against a direct Champions League-qualifying rival.

In fact, after this win Schalke find themselves third in the Bundesliga table with 34 points from 17 matches, level with Borussia Dortmund and just three points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

Whether or not Huub Stevens’ side will be able to sustain their challenge after the winter break remains to be seen, but Raul is certainly going to be a crucial player in Schalke’s season in the second half of 2011-12.

Congratulations to Raul
,'s 135th World Player of the Week!

Honourable Mentions

Daniel Alves - Barcelona

Daniel Alves proved to be effective down the right for Barcelona in their Club World Cup triumph in Japan. The Brazil international right-back terrorised the Santos defence in the final with his runs forward and set up two goals in the Spanish and European champions’ 4-0 victory.

John Guidetti - Feyenoord

John Guidetti was on target for Dutch giants Feyenoord three times in their 3-2 victory over Twente at home in the Eredivisie. He scored all the goals in the first half.

Lionel Messi - Barcelona

As expected, Barca emerged triumphant in the Club World Cup in Japan, and at the heart of the Blaugrana’s success was Lionel Messi. The Argentina international forward was not at his best in Barca’s 4-0 win against Al Sadd in the semi-finals but was still impressive and crucial. But on Sunday in the final against Santos, the 24-year-old turned on the style, scored two goals to help them win 4-0 and was at his ineffable best.

Eduardo Vargas - Universidad de Chile

Eduardo Vargas scored twice for Universidad de Chile in their 3-0 victory over Liga de Quito to help them to a 4-0 aggregate victory in the final of the Copa Sudamericana. It was the first international title for the club. Then the forward capped the week by breaking the Chilean transfer record with a €13.6 million move to Napoli.

Leave your notes of congratulations for Raul below, or discuss who else deserves a place in the spotlight this week...