Schalke have today confirmed that legend Raul will be leaving the club on a free at the end of the season after two years in Germany. He was offered a contract from them but decided it was time to move on.
After an incredible career with Real Madrid, spending sixteen years in the first team, Raul was no longer first choice so decided it was time to leave. He has done brilliantly well with Schalke, scoring 19 goals last season and 20 goals this. According to Opta, during his time in Germany, Raúl has started more matches (95) and played more minutes (8287) than any other Schalke player, which indicates there’s still plenty of life left in him yet.
This morning, the papers have linked him with a move to Qatar, where he would likely receive a £7.5million four-year deal but I would love him to come to United.
Last summer, Ferguson admitted he thought about trying to sign Raul when he left Spain but felt it was unnecessary because we brought in Michael Owen.
“We do prefer to sign young players as a rule but when you get an opportunity to sign experience like that you’ve got to have a look at it,” Ferguson said. “You can make exceptions for certain players, because experience is so valuable. We thought the same when we signed Michael Owen, who has been a terrific professional for us, and bringing in Raúl would have been similar to when we managed to get Henrik Larsson for a short time a few years ago. It was obvious his time at Real Madrid had come to an end, and he certainly wasn’t too old to be effective, as he has been showing in Germany. We spoke to his agent about a possible move but we already had Javier Hernández by then and, with Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen available, we thought we could afford to let the chance pass. If we hadn’t had Michael at the club at the time I might well have signed him.”
Hopefully Michael Owen will leave this summer, Dimitar Berbatov sadly almost certainly will, and there’s every chance Federico Macheda will too, after yet another unnsuccessful loan. Raul has shown in Germany that he’s still got it and the experience he could provide on the training ground would be incredible.
Wayne Rooney would certainly get the nod ahead of him but he could probably still give Danny Welbeck or Chicharito a run for their money. At his age, he obviously wouldn’t be able to play every game, but if he’s banging the goals in still in Germany, there’s no reason why he couldn’t do it here.
When United played Schalke in the Champions League last season, Raul acknowledged the contact between himself and United, despite never speaking to the manager himself, and claimed he liked the idea of playing in England.
“I love the footballing culture there, the respect for the game, the atmosphere, the intensity,” he said. “I’ve been at Old Trafford, Arsenal, at Liverpool watching Fernando Morientes and it’s special. I fancied the idea. I wanted to try something different.”
If Raul wants to end his career in Qatar or USA to bring in the big money, fine, but at 34-years-old, surely we could get a season or two out of him first. He has a job waiting for him at Real Madrid once his playing career is over but it would be incredible to have a legend like him in our shirt before then.