Schalke 04 forward Raul is to
leave at the end of the season when his contract expires, the
Bundesliga club said on Thursday.
The 34-year-old former Real Madrid and Spain striker has
been at the Gelsenkirchen club for two seasons, scoring 27
Bundesliga goals in 63 matches.
"He will explain his reasons for the move... and his plans
for the future in due course," the club said in a statement.
German media reported that Raul could continue his career in
"My future lies outside Europe in a league that is not so
strong in playing terms as the Bundesliga," the player told
"It was not an easy decision to make. I have had two
wonderful years and will always have a place for Schalke in my
Raul, whose international career ended in 2006, joined
Schalke after he became surplus to requirements at Real Madrid,
the club where he had been a talismanic figure.
It was uncertain how well he would adapt to rainy,
industrial Gelsenkirchen, where Schalke have an almost cult-like
following, after the more refined surroundings of the Bernabeu.
He adapted well, however, scoring 13 goals in his first
Bundesliga season and five more in the Champions League, taking
his all-time tally in Europe's top club competition to a record
with 71 goals as Schalke reached the semi-finals.
He also won a German Cup winners' medal, scoring once along
He has continued to consistently find the net this term with
14 more goals in the Bundesliga, two in the cup and four in the
Europa League. In all, he has scored 39 goals for the Royal
"Raul is a complete team player, who will give everything
for the team and the club until his last match," said coach Huub
Stevens. "I have great respect for him."
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