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After 16 Seasons, Raul Says Goodbye To Real Madrid; Joins Schalke 04

Real Madrid's captain is set to leave the club ahead of a move to Germany or England.

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Raul Joins Germany's Schalke 04 On Free Transfer

Former Real Madrid captain, Raúl, was introduced at German Bundesliga club Schalke 04 on Wednesday, ending the speculation as to which country the Spanish legend would land in.

From the AP:

Longtime Real Madrid forward Raul Gonzalez signed a two-year contract with Bundesliga club Schalke on Wednesday.

Raul joined Schalke on a free transfer after 15 seasons with Madrid, ending lengthy speculation about the move.

The club presented the 33-year-old striker at its stadium in Gelsenkirchen, giving him the No. 7 shirt.

"I'm looking forward to starting on a new challenge," Raul said. "It's an important challenge for me."

Raúl won't miss any time in the top tiers of European soccer. Schalke's second place finish in the Bundesliga last season automatically qualifies them for the group stage of the 2010-2011 UEFA Champions League.

The Spanish striker will be Schalke's replacement for the departed Kevin Kuranyi who transferred to Dynamo Moscow in May.  Kuranyi scored 18 goals for the Royal Blues in last season's campaign.  Raúl is Schalke's second signing from Real Madrid this summer.  They signed German defender Christoph Metzelder in April.  


Tottenham Rules Out Move For Raul

Tottenham Hotspur has been linked with a move for Raúl, but on the day the former Real Madrid captain announced his separation from the Santiago Bernabeu, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp hinted it would be too expensive to bring the striker to White Hart Lane:

"Raul was a great player at Real Madrid, but I wouldn't think he would be a player we would bring to Tottenham. Financially, I don't think it would be possible to do a deal like that."

In the same interview, Redknapp confirmed his interest in Sevilla's Luis Fabiano while hinting Robbie Keane is likely to stay with the team:

Redknapp told Sky Sports News: "I like Fabiano. I've got other targets, but I'd be a liar if I said I didn't like him, he's a top player.

"He (Keane) was outstanding in the tournament," said Redknapp.

"He scored some goals and ended up getting player of the tournament, and deservedly so. He's in great form. He's here so there's every chance that he will be in the team. He's a top player."


After 16 Seasons, Raul Says Goodbye To Real Madrid

After 16 seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, Raúl is moving on, having said goodbye to Real Madrid on Monday.  The now former captain made his announcement in front of fans and club officials ahead of a possible move to Germany or England.

"This is a very tough and difficult day.

"Football has been my life and Real Madrid my home. Together we have lived unique moments.

"I feel like a footballer still and I will keep on playing but I will always be loyal to Real Madrid. I have tried to give everything in my time here.

"A new period starts today. I have been happy at Real Madrid and I will always be willing to help the club in whatever it needs."

Raúl Gonzáelz leaves Real Madrid having scored 323 goals in 741 appearances for the club (both records), along the way setting records for most goals scored for Spain (44 in 102 matches) and in the UEFA Champions League (64).  The striker was a member of teams that won six Primera Divisions, four Spanish Supercopas, three Champions Leagues, and two Intercontinental Cups.

Last season, Raúl's goal total dropped from 18 (in 2008-09) to five as the captain lost his place in Manuel Pellegrini's starting XI.  Pellegrini was replaced by José Mourinho earlier this off-season, but the new coach had asked Raúl and midfielder Guti to stay away from training as the futures of both talismanic players were resolved.  Two days after Guti announced his departure from the club, Raúl has made his exit official.

Now Raúl looks close to a move to Germany, where Schalke 04 coach Felix Magath has commented on the veteran's eventual arrival.  The Spaniard would not, however, eliminate England as a possible landing point.

"I have had very deep discussions with Schalke but there are other teams that are also interested. My future lies in Germany or England," he said.
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