Longtime Real Madrid forward Raul joins Schalke

BERLIN: Longtime Real Madrid forward Raul Gonzalez completed his move to Bundesliga club Schalke on Wednesday, signing a two-year contract.

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Raul is joining Schalke on a free transfer after 15 seasons with Madrid. Schalke said the 33-year-old was undergoing a medical Wednesday.

Coach Felix Magath, who secured Raul’s agreement on Tuesday evening, said it was “great news for Schalke.”

“I’m glad that we succeeded in enthusing such an exceptional footballer and world-class goalscorer about a move to the Bundesliga and to Schalke,” Magath said. “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. Kuranyi’s 18 goals helped the club to a second-place finish in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich, qualifying it for Champions League play.

Raul is Schalke’s second signing from Real Madrid in the offseason, joining former Germany defender Christoph Metzelder who spent three injury-plagued seasons at Madrid and saw little playing time.

Raul announced his departure from Real Madrid on Monday.

“I want to experience another type of football, a different culture that’s an important challenge in life,” he said at the time. “German or English football those are the only two places I would go … my motivation is to keep playing football.”

Raul found himself mostly relegated to the bench at Madrid following a spending spree by the club last summer.

He made his Madrid debut as a 17-year-old in 1994 and stayed with the club since then a span that includes three Champions League triumphs, six Spanish league titles and two Intercontinental Cups.

He leaves with 228 league goals for Madrid, and a record 44 goals in 102 appearances for Spain, though he hasn’t played for the national team since 2006.

Raul is also the leading scorer in UEFA competitions with 66 goals, including 64 in the Champions League. – AP

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