With over 15 years at the club, from a youth player to the age of 33, and 228 league goals in the Spanish La Liga, the great Raul Gonzalez has left Real Madrid. He is/was one of the most prolific strikers in all of Europe, and not too many clubs can boast a talisman as valuable as he. He was in that select league of strikers that elevated his team with his class and leadership, a league in which I would include such players as Jurgen Kilnsmann, Alan Shearer and Dennis Bergkamp.

Raul is only 33, so he is not quite retiring. There are rumors he might go to Shalke, while others link him to the Premiership, and he has himself admitted he would only consider a move to one of those two countries. Last season he didn’t start as many games for Real, and with Jose Mourinho taking charge, it became clear that his time at the top of the game may be coming to an end. I’m sure he can still bang a lot of goals for whoever he signs for, so we haven’t heard the last of him. He admitted he would like the challenge of a new culture and a new league, so he still seems hungry for more. Raul departed with the words “I will always be available to Madrid for whatever it needs me”, which was a nice touch.

As a reminder, another long-serving player to leave Madrid this summer was midfielder Guti, so Mourinho’s vision for a new, younger team is already taking shape.

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