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.
“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.”
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