When you think of greatness in Spanish football, one active player likely surpasses all others in the last few decades.
Raul of Real Madrid has been a consistent goal scorer over his career and the aging forward and captain has proven this year (just like any year in his career) that he still can contend with the big boys. But the sad fact in sports is that things have to change generation to generation whether you like it or not. And this recent off season los galicticos spending spree has opened up several doors to Real Madrid’s potential success down the road. But it also has likely ended a brilliant era from a wonderful player in their past and present.
Raul has hit that stage of his career where he is no longer one of the best players in the world. He is in his mid-thirties and has scored more then ten goals in a season over a dozen times. But he is not getting any younger and his legs are not getting any lighter either. And with the deals that brought in Ronaldo and Benzema and the emergence of Higuain as an excellent scorer, Raul has often been considered the odd man out this season.
The guy could still start for plenty of teams in the league and he could continue to be a valuable member of any powerhouse’s bench, but the years of leading the league in goals have passed the Spanish star by. The New York Red Bulls know that landing Raul would be the biggest thing since Beckham’s signing with the Galaxy and such a move could improve an entire league and introduce a superstar to potential marketing deals in the US.
Well last weekend Raul likely scored his last goal for the all whites in a 2-1 victory over Real Zaragoza. The captain sprained his ankle following the goal and is expected to miss four weeks of action. Unfortunately, their isn’t that much time left in the season, but at least the legend left on a positive note and helped his side’s pursuit of the La Liga title.
Raul may leave following the season, but the legend will not be forgotten by fans of the most beautiful game.
Because the great ones never are.
photo credit: Arturo J. Paniagua