The 34 year old shocked fans and critics alike when he left Madrid for Schalke in the summer of 2010 with many believing it was the end of his illustrous career. However, 2 years and 27 goals later, Raul has proved his doubters wrong.
With 14 goals in the Bundesliga so far, Raul is Schalke’s second highest goal scorer this season-a statistic that made the club offer him a one year extension to his contract that runs out this summer.
Speaking to reporters during a press conference, Raul who turned down Schalke’s offer said:
“I have made a decision about my future, and will not stay at Schalke. It has been a really tough decision. I’d like to thank the club, the president and the manager for their patience. This decision is the right one for me,”
“My future doesn’t lie in Europe. I will get together with my agent to discuss the offers we have received. I will then announce where I will go. It will be a less competitive league.
“My decision is based on several factors. I’m still confident enough to play in a top league, but I can’t foresee the future. The key factor is my family. In the Bundesliga you don’t have much time with your family. My choice of which league to join will reflect my desire to spend more time with my family.
“I want to thank the club, coaches and coaching staff. I had a wonderful two years here and the club will always be in my heart. I also want to say many thanks to the fans. They are very special, showed me lots respect and affection. It will be emotionally difficult to say goodbye. Schalke will always be a part of my life.”
This throws the door wide open for a possible move to either the MLS and the Qatari league. That said, what really caught my attention, was Schalke’s decision to retire their no. 7 jersey indefinitely in honour of Raul.
Now, i would have expected Real to do this for Raul 2 years ago seeing that he is their record highest goal scorer, however, Los Blancos failed in this respect. Raul will play his farewell match against a yet to be identified Spanish opponent in 2013.