Sport Former Real forward Raul to retire in November

Former Real forward Raul to retire in November

Raul Gonzalez Blanco
Raul Gonzalez Blanco

Former Real Madrid forward and joint record scorer Raul, who currently plays for the New York Cosmos, announced on Thursday that he would retire from the sport at the end of the North American Soccer League (NASL) season in November.

Spaniard Raul, 38, who won a host of trophies with Real during a stellar career, including three Champions League crowns and six La Liga titles, made his debut in April for the New York franchise, who compete in the NASL — a tier below Major League Soccer.

“When I signed for the New York Cosmos in December, I said I would evaluate how I felt towards the end of the year and assess whether I would continue to play,” Raul said in a statement issued by the Cosmos.

“My decision is to retire from playing at the end of this season. I am fully focussed on finishing the season strong and helping the New York Cosmos win the NASL Championship. In the coming months I will decide the next step in my career.”

New York won the NASL’s spring season title and have lost only one home game in the past 18 months to sit third in the NASL standings with a place in the four-team Championship now assured.

Raul, who shares Real’s scoring record with Cristiano Ronaldo, having found the net 323 times in 741 games, also serves as a technical adviser for the Cosmos youth academy and is expected to take over on a fulltime basis after he retires.

“Playing football has been part of my life for so long and the decision to retire is not an easy one but I believe it is the right time,” said Raul, who made his Spain debut in 1996 and during a 10-year international career scored 44 goals in 102 appearances.

“I’m thankful to everyone who has supported me throughout my career and I look forward to playing my final games with the New York Cosmos over the coming weeks.”

New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese paid a lavish tribute to Raul.

“Raul is one of the world’s most iconic players,” Savarese said. “I knew when we signed him what he would bring on pitch but his knowledge, passion, professionalism and commitment has exceeded my expectations.

“In less than a year, Raul has become a big part of the team and he will always remain part of the Cosmos family.”

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