His Hero

Hopefully you will remember our bhoy in Venice , Beppe , who gave us a great tale of his first trip to see the famous Glasgow Celtic .

Those who know him well , of which I am fortunate to , are left in no doubt as to whom his favourite player is .

While chatting last week he confessed a wish to help us again but was lost for topics . Like myself he cant add much to the memorable games series , but I believe he does a fine job , in his own style and words, of letting all of you also know who he regards as ” his hero ” !

Many thanks my friend


Courage, strength, honesty, super powers, some of the quality we look for when choosing our heroes. Our fathers, some bloke from Marvel or a sport legend. We grow up knowing we have someone to rely on, someone who will never fail us, someone to be proud of, to emulate, to cheer, to be represented by, a safe place to go when things are not great or even better when they are. Someone to keep us dreaming and, therefore, young.

My hero was (and will always) be Raul.

Not because his first goal against Atletico, or his famous goal in the final of the Champions league 2000, or for his famous finger to his lips to silence the Barca fan when he scored in the Camp Nou or for the treble against Man-U that lead Ferguson to label him as the best player in the world. 

I loved him because as a young player, maybe less talented than others, fought every day to be the best and when he did reach that goal, he set new ones, going to became our Captain, a legend, he became “el siete”, “the angel of Madrid”, “el capitan”…he was Real Madrid. 

Raul played alongside the Galacticos and never complained or came out in public with any issue though he had plenty of reasons to protest. He simply kept working hard, he kept leading and taking upon him all responsibilities. Players came and went, he adapted his game to allow the President to satisfy his childish itches or simply to help the team. And he kept helping Madrid winning games but most important, as the Face of Madrid, he gave the world a nice image of the Team.

Many people underestimate his actual abilities, which helped him to win 15 trophies, three Champions League, six La Liga titles. To me Raúl still is one of the top 5 strikers ever and I could back it up with stats.

But I know people usually prefer players who maybe are “louder”, in and out of the field.

I could quote a recent Report of The Spanish football research centre (CIHEFE), that, taking in consideration goals, assists, tackles, and so on, certified Raul as the best ever Spanish player. 

But to me all these stats are pointless for 2 reasons: one, everyone has different taste, ideas and will look at players differently and, two, Raul could have scored half of the goals and still would have been my hero.

Because as a fan and a young man it was special to look at him as a role model, as the man representing our values. He fought like no other for our Team, he became one thing with the Team and the fan. He became Raul Madrid. And he was great to have him as the voice of Madrid.

Only a real madridista can understand why Ronaldo, the old or the new one, was never and could never be as loved as Raul, nor Beckham, Bale, Figo or anyone else but few true captains and legends like Hierro or Sanchis.

Because when Raul talked, I was proud of him, of being a Madrid fan and as long as he was there, Madrid never really lost. Sometimes we didn’t really win.

But most important, as long as he was the captain, time stood still. I could not get old, impossible.

He was a shield for everyone at Madrid, players and presidents and for the fan, a wall you could hide behind till it was safe to go out.

He had all I thought one should have: strength, passion, determination, love, skills, arrogance, talent and he brought joy to us all.

He carried the Team on his back regardless of the moment and from his very first match he played like he owned the field. Fearless and influential, famously told the manager, before his very first match, few days short of his 18 birthday: “If you want to win, play me. If not, put someone else in.” And yet he was humble, honest and quiet.

A player like him is rare and might never come again for us, for sure we miss him.

The day he retired (which for me is the day he left Real, though I know he went on and proved how good he was by taking Shalke to the semi-final of the Champions League with his goals and leadership), I woke up: I wasn’t that young kid who fell in love with Madrid anymore. The wall broke down. My youth was gone. No more heroes.

Please tell us of your favourite player or game and help us be different . Of the people for the people . sentinelcelts@gmail.com

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A great read about a truly great player. And he went up a further notch in my estimation by putting Beckham’s nose out of joint.

“Naw,ye canny get the No 7 jersey. It is mine!” however that translates into Spanish…

big packy

HI BEPPE, used to watch a lot of Spanish football because as a kid growing up, real madrid was my second team after celtic, my father and uncles had been to hampden park to watch real madrid v Eintracht Frankfurt, and they never stopped talking about it .hh.


My Dad was at that game. For a man who refers to the pre-Lions days as The Years of Famine,he saw some amount of great games during that time.

The 51 Final,Coronation Cup,54 double,Hampden in the Sun,Real v Eintracht. Not bad when you think about it.

In fairness though,he was 27 before he saw us win a second title. I’d lived through fifteen by then,and seen most of them.

And just to prove how lucky I am,I moved down south for all but the last of their “false nine”


Thanks! I won’t say what I really think of Beckham…


Ah,go on!


Fratello, many thanks again for today’s article. Grace us any time.
As I recall Raul Gonzales Blanco was a troubled tear away with mega talent. The hierarchy at Real knew this and held a meeting about how get him to settle down.
The presidents daughter was Miss Spain and he arranged a date between the two,,,the rest is history.
He gave us soo many special nights as you say he never stop.
That night your team went to old Trafford and Redondo was star of the show was a classic.
A pity Raul never pulled on the Hoops!
Hail Hail amici


There were rumours of a big rumour which turned out to be just a rumour.
Yaya better be just a rumour. Was over the hill years ago . Please no, it’s silly.
Address the defense! !!

big packy

MAHE it was reported in the scotsman, that celtic were after ya ya toure, but at 35 apparently has not kicked a ball in 2 years, who to believe.hh.


BP,,I would rather the sign you !!!
Toure and McKenna would leave a lot of unhappy punters indeed.
Praying it’s pish. Hail Hail

Mike In Toronto

I see Stephen McManus has signed with Celtic as a coach … he better not be the replacement for when Boyata leaves 🙂

big packy

MIKE, it would not surprise me.hh,

A thing of beauty

Thanks for reminding me what a top drawer player Raul was beppe. He played with some great players and could hold his own no problem.
As regards the ya ya rumours. I recall seeing him playing for Man City about two years ago and he looked like he needed a walking stick. Unless he’s come back from olympiacos via Lourdes I’d be giving him a miss. Still younger than Defoe though and has played at a higher level ?

big packy

A THING OF BEAUTY, that made me laugh, back from olympakos via Lourdes,hope your ok.hh.

Good stuff Beppe.
Aye Raul was a quality striker, Real sure could do with him just now, they have never been the same since CR7 left.
Went to Lourdes once, I honestly thought it was rather tacky, we arrived very late at night and it reminded me on Vegas with all the lights and advertising, not what I was expecting, then we couldn’t find a bed for the night, it was mid winter and feckin freezing, still, we had a quilt and the motor was adequate.
We got waylaid by our sat nav, it was hell bent in taking us up the mountains, should have arrived there much earlier.

A thing of beauty

I’m very well BP, thanks for asking. Hope you are well yourself. As regards ya ya, I like the idea of an experienced centre half and am not against signing someone of around 34 but you’re is done. As regards rumours I see talk of wanyama. That would be amazing but unlikely for me. Hefty wages at spurs and a backward step career wise I would say. Still, I live in hope.

A thing of beauty

I’ve never been to Lourdes but I suppose it’s like most places now a days – over commercialised. What’s your thoughts on ya ya then TET. Would you take him?

I honestly don’t think I would, hasn’t played for nigh on two years, doesn’t bode well, you would have thot that a player of his caliber would be a sure starter for the likes of Olympiacos, so something must be wrong with him, but who knows, as a CB he shouldn’t have to exert himself too much, but it’s down to two people, the manager and his boss and Ya Ya himself of course, I doubt we are even remotely interested.
We should be looking in France for BoBo kinda CB’s, the league is full of them and for sure we could afford them.
Never got a negative feeling from Lourdes, the opposite in fact, just got a surprise as it wasn’t how I imagined it was going to be, as you say commercialisation has taken over the world.

big packy

THE EXILED TIM, that reminded me when I took the wfes parents up to Scotland for the first time, landed in fort William about teatime,searching for a hotel or b and b, then found out it was a bank holiday everywhere was full, ended up sleeping in the car on the main car park. hh.


You sure that wasn’t Bethlehem you were in?

That would have been fun…..;-)

No, I have been there as well right enough, or passed through it, just not at night so it was~is prob the same.


TeT,, you been to Knock?
Beautiful she is. Hail Hail

No, always meant to get there but for whatever reason never managed it, that part of Ireland is beautiful, the last time we attempted to go there we ended up staying in Gort, crackin wee town, for longer that we had intended.

big packy

THE EXILED TIM, nearly a divorce?

A thing of beauty

Sorry for the late reply, phone call distracted me. Thanks for your views. I agree with you that we probably were never interested. I think what is clear is that we do not have anyone lined up for cb or rb which is ridiculous when you consider how long we’ve known that we needed these players. Not the strategy of a well run club I would suggest. More like one thinking they’ve got no competition and they can penny pinch as usual. Hmmm, that was well thought out – not!!!


Operating Celtic Plc at the expense of Celtic FC is not how things were originally envisaged. The Plc could negotiate better deals on the back of success on the pitch,the money from which was meant to be ploughed back into the team to provide it with even more success.

Now,the team is a cornershop operation while the Plc thinks it’s Harrods. And when the success on the pitch dries up again,it will be firesale time again. Those bonuses don’t pay for themselves,you know!


New Article Posted!


Lol, that made me laugh….