One of the greatest scorers to ever play the game will be hanging up his cleats.
Spanish icon Raúl will retire at the end of the New York Cosmos season, the NASL club announced on Thursday. Raúl joined the Cosmos last October to cap a career that is most recognized for his play with Real Madrid, where he won six La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns. Cristiano Ronaldo just tied Raúl's club record for goals (323) prior to the international break, and Raúl's 550 La Liga appearances and 741 appearances total are Real Madrid records.
The 38-year-old Raúl, who appeared 102 times for Spain's national team and scored 44 goals, also played with Bundesliga club Schalke and Qatari side Al-Sadd before coming to the USA and signing with the Cosmos. Up until last season, he was the Champions League's all-time leading scorer with 71 goals in the competition. Ronaldo currently holds that record, with 82, five more than Lionel Messi's 77. Over the combined Spring and Fall seasons, Raúl has seven goals and three assists in 26 NASL appearances.
“My decision is to retire from playing at the end of this season," Raúl said in statement. "I am fully focused on finishing the season strong and helping the New York Cosmos win the NASL Championship. In the coming months I will decide the next step in my career.
"Playing soccer has been part of my life for so long and the decision to retire is not an easy one but I believe it is the right time. I'm thankful to everyone who has supported me throughout my career and I look forward to playing my final games with the New York Cosmos over the coming weeks.”
The Cosmos are in NASL's four-team playoffs as champions of the Spring Season, meaning Raúl will have a chance to go out with a final trophy before ending his playing days.