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Page last updated at 21:41 GMT, Wednesday, 28 July 2010 22:41 UK

Raul signs for Schalke after leaving Real Madrid

Raul
Raul made 741 appearances for Madrid in 17 seasons, scoring 323 goals

Former Spain striker Raul has joined German side Schalke after ending his 18-year career with Real Madrid.

The 33-year-old, who announced his departure from the Spanish giants on Monday, had hinted he could make a move to a Premier League side in England.

But on Wednesday he signed a two-year deal with Schalke, who finished second in the Bundesliga last season.

"We have signed an exceptional footballer and world-class goalscorer," said Schalke coach Felix Magath.

"His signing is a decisive step in our efforts to strengthen and restructure the squad."

Schalke had a gap to fill in its attack after Kevin Kuranyi left for Dynamo Moscow at the end of last season.

Raul scored 323 goals in 741 games for Real, and 44 goals in 102 Spain games.

That scoring ratio helped him become a legend at the Bernabeu club, which he joined in 1992 - making his first-team debut against Real Zaragoza in October 1994 at the age of 17.

606: DEBATE

And his record meant the likes of Tottenham, Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester United were mentioned as possible destinations for the veteran forward.

Raul helped Real seal three Champions League triumphs and six Spanish league titles in his time at the club.

After being presented as a Schalke player on Wednesday, he described the Bundesliga as the world's best.

The striker also stated that it took only one conversation with Real manager Jose Mourinho, who took over in May, to convince him to leave.

"From that moment on my mind was made up to look for a new challenge with Schalke," he told the German club's website.

"An era has ended with Real Madrid but a new one has begun with Schalke.

"For me Germany has the best league in the world. Above all, I'm fascinated by how well-balanced it is."

Real president Florentino Perez paid tribute to the departing idol and stated: "We will never forget Raul.

"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."

Midfielder Guti, 33, who spent a total of 25 years with Real having come through their youth system, announced he was joining Turkish club Beskitas on Sunday.



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see also
Guti ends 25-year Madrid service
25 Jul 10 |  Europe
Mourinho unveiled as boss of Real
31 May 10 |  Europe
Raul left out of Spain Euro squad
17 May 08 |  Spain


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