He's known for being a small, ultra-productive forward who can score from just about anywhere, but what else should we know about this guy?
Did I go on a deep dive into the far corners of the Internet to learn as much as I could about Ruidíaz? ABSOLUTELY.
Here are nine of my favorite things I discovered about our new No. 9:
1. He scored an incredibly clutch goal that saved his club from relegation
Deadlocked at 1-1 against Monterrey in May 2017, Ruidíaz scored in second-half stoppage time to secure three massive points. The implications of this goal were huge, with GOAL.com even stating that it was the most important goal in the world that weekend. Ruidíaz's goal meant that Morelia avoided relegation from Liga MX.
2. He has an awesome car
Bruce Wayne, is that you?
3. He is afraid of needles
Before playing in Copa America 2016, Ruidíaz had to get some shots… and he wasn’t too pleased, as seen in this Instagram video. Fun fact: Ruidíaz and Peru played a match in Seattle that June, but Ruidíaz didn’t play in that contest. The city must have left an impression with him, though.
4. He has unique nicknames
“The Peruvian Messi” was given to him due to his short stature and his technical ability, much like the Argentine Messi. Some people also call him “La Pulga” – Spanish for “The Flea,” which is Messi's nickname. However, according to this article from 2011, he’s not a big fan of that moniker. Let's stick with "Peruvian Messi."
5. His brother, Yamir, is also a professional soccer player
According to this article, Raúl’s brother, Yamir, is a 17-year-old forward and starting his career at the same Peruvian club Raul went pro, Universitario.
6. His mother is of Croatian descent
His mother’s last name is Misitich – Misitić in Croatian – and in traditional Spanish naming customs his full name is Raúl Mario Ruidíaz Misitich.
7. He nearly left soccer in 2007
In this eye-opening piece, Ruidíaz shared the difficulty of finding adequate soccer conditions in Peru. An English translated version of his quote states, “"Peruvian soccer is very hard. There are good players with talent, but it is an impracticable football because of the infrastructure, the heat and the height.”
Further in the article, Ruidíaz says a bad relationship with a coach nearly resulted in him leaving the sport entirely in 2007. He studied accounting for a year, but ended up coming back to the pitch.
8. He is very active on social media
9. He didn’t wear No. 9 for his club in Peru
Ruidíaz will don the No. 9 jersey for the Sounders, just like he did at Morelia, but it wasn’t always this way. At Universitario, he was unable to wear that jersey because it’s reserved for the legacy of Lolo Fernandez, a legendary player who played for Universitario and scored over 150 goals from 1931-1953.