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Spanish football legend Raul signs with New York Cosmos

The New York Cosmos have signed Spanish football great Raúl, the club announced Thursday.

The New York Cosmos have signed Spanish football great Raúl, the club announced Thursday.

The former Spanish national team captain and Real Madrid star agreed to a multi-year contract to join the North American Soccer League franchise for the 2015 spring season.

“Everyone throughout the soccer world knows the Cosmos name and the legacy of the players that played for this team previously,” Raúl said. “They helped establish soccer in America and I’m honored to follow in their footsteps. I believe in this club’s vision and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

In addition, he will serve a role as a technical advisor for the youth academy, which is set to open in 2015. He will then take over the academy full-time upon retirement.

“Raúl’s skill and ability is world renowned. He’s a world-class player and he adds a whole new dimension to our attack,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said. “He also brings immense passion and knowledge that he can share with our team and with the next generation of Cosmos players in our youth academy. 

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Raúl, 37, debuted with Real Madrid 20 years ago and is the club’s all-time leading scorer and most capped player. With the Spanish national team, he scored 44 goals in 102 caps, the second-most goals in national history behind only David Villa.

He last played for Qatari club Al-Sadd before parting ways in June 2014.

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The Cosmos will begin their second season since the new team returned to competitive football in 2013. In their first year of playing in the second-tier NASL, the Cosmos won the Fall Season Championship and the Soccer Bowl.  

- Danielle Zhu