Former Real Madrid and Schalke star Raul believes Manchester United are favourites to take this season’s UEFA Europa League crown.
Jose Mourinho’s side cruised into the Round of 16, winning six of their eight UEL matches and keeping a competition-best five clean sheets along the way.
The Round of 16 takes them take on FC Rostov, who are playing in the knockout stages of a major European competition for the first time in their history, and Raul believes Mourinho can lead the club to a historic first UEL trophy.
“I think there are favourites like Manchester United. They’re the team to beat,” said Raul, speaking on behalf of Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
“They are still in the process of creating a team. I think with the help of Mourinho, and the new signings, they still need a period to adapt.
“There’s also Roma, who are playing well. Lyon are another team, but Manchester United and Roma are the strongest teams with the most options.
“Personally, I would like to see a Spanish team, Celta Vigo, win the title. If that’s not the case, then I would like to see Schalke.”
A three-time UEFA Champions League-winner with Real Madrid, Raul gained Europa League experience with Schalke in 2011-12, hitting four goals as the German club reached the quarter-finals
They face a tough task against compatriots Borussia Monchengladbach in the Round of 16 but Raul believes his former club can make the quarter-finals.
“Gladbach have started to win matches in recent weeks, and they’re playing better, while Schalke has had a bit of an irregular year, though they have improved since the winter break,” said the former Spain captain.
“I think it’s going to be a great tie. I know people think Gladbach are the favourites, but they will have to play two tough matches.”
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is an official partner of the UEFA Europa League. As a fan of the game, visit www.enterprise.com to enjoy special rates on car hire across Europe