New York Cosmos reportedly sign Spanish legend Raul, will play and coach

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Former Real Madrid and Spanish national team superstar Raul has agreed to sign a multi-year with the New York Cosmos, according to a report by ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.

According to Carlisle’s report, he will begin playing with the team in the spring of 2015, and will also lead the club’s academy.

Now 37 years old, Raul is arguably one of the most successful players in recent European memory. He spent 16 years with Real Madrid, racking up a whopping 738 appearances across all competitions and picking up six La Liga titles, three Champions League trophies, and a pair of league cups. He is Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer with 323 goals, and is the Champions League’s leading goalscorer with 71, although Cristiano Ronaldo is just one behind him and Lionel Messi three back.

Raul also picked up 102 caps for the Spanish national team, captaining the side for four years and scoring 44 goals. Raul has never been sent off in his entire career for either club or country, a fantastic feather in his cap.

Since leaving Real Madrid in 2010, Raul has played in the Bundesliga for two years, and then played in the Qatar Stars League for Al-Saad, the country’s most successful club. He won the 2012/13 championship with them, scoring 11 goals in 44 appearances across two seasons.

He played his last match for Al-Saad in March, and according to Carlisle the Cosmos have been hot on his trail since that time. The ESPN report says they weren’t the only ones. His former clubs were after him for directorial positions as well, with Real Madrid looking to make him technical director and Al-Saad wanted him to lead its academy. But he got the best of both worlds at New York, where he can play and coach.

The Cosmos currently sit in fifth place in the NASL table with three more matches left in the 2014 fall season. They finished second in this year’s spring season, and are third in the overall table.