July 26th, 2010
Emotional: Raul gestures during a news conference at the Bernabeu on Monday
Departing Real Madrid captain Raul claims he is considering a move to England following his departure from the Santiago Bernabeu, denying a deal with Schalke is already done.
The veteran striker announced his departure from the club where he has spent his entire career and had been expected to sign for Schalke, possibly as early as this afternoon, but the 33-year-old says a move to the Barclays Premier League is also a possibility.
‘The German team is interested in me and I have had very deep discussions with them,’ he said.
Thanks for the memories: Raul is leaving Real Madrid after 16 years with the Spanish giants
‘In a few days I will know whether I’ll be going to the Bundesliga, but there are other teams that are also interested. What is clear is that my future lies in Germany or England,’ he added.
Reports in Spain have strongly linked Tottenham and Newcastle with the veteran, though respective managers Harry Redknapp and Chris Hughton have both distanced their clubs from a deal.
Manchester United and Liverpool have also been mooted as potential destinations.
Raul, though, says the decision to leave Madrid was a tough one.
‘It’s a hard day for me,’ he said. ‘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.’
The 33 year-old says his time at the club has been like a dream.
‘Being a Real Madrid player is the greatest dream you can imagine,’ he said. ‘Today more than ever I want everybody to know that in every move, dribble, turn or gesture on the field of play, I tried to give the best I could. In my head the word surrender has never existed, because that is what Real Madrid is about.’
The Madrid captain was a key part of one of the club’s most successful sides ever, winning three Champions League trophies and 16 titles in total, but was only a bit-part player last season and has decided to end his career elsewhere.
Despite his obvious sadness, Raul says the time is now right for a new challenge.
‘A new period starts today,’ he said. ‘I have been happy at Real Madrid and I will always be willing to help the club in whatever it needs, but the time to leave has come.
Jose Mourinho and his assistant Aitor Karanka attend Raul's farewell ceremony
‘I have had the feeling (for a while) that this is the time to move on. I have worn the Real Madrid shirt for many years. I’m 33 now and it is time for some younger and stronger players to come in.
‘Also it was my last opportunity to have the experience of playing abroad. I have taken the decision with my family and I want to keep competing.’
Madrid president Florentino Perez also paid tribute to the departing idol.
‘We will never forget Raul,’ he said. ‘There are many men who form part of the legend of Real Madrid, but few that are chosen to embody the club – Raul is one of those.’
Raul scored 323 goals in 741 games for Real Madrid, as well as 44 in 102 appearances for Spain.
His departure follows that of midfielder Guti, who announced his exit on Sunday and is expected to sign for Turkish side Besiktas.
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