Schalke 04 coach Felix Magath on Wednesday hailed the capture of veteran Spanish striker Raul as a significant boost to the German team's chances in the Bundesliga and the UEFA Champions League.
Real Madrid and former Spanish international Raul, 33, agreed a two-year deal with Schalke after 16 years at the Bernabeu. "I am delighted that we have been able to inject new life into the championship by bringing in an exceptional player and a goalscorer who has played at the elite world level," said Magath. "His signing represents a significant step in our efforts to strengthen and rebuild the team for the future."
Raul played for Real since 1994, winning six Spanish championships and three Champions League titles. He scored a record 323 goals in 740 appearances in the famous white Madrid jersey. He also found the back of the net 44 times in 102 games for Spain, making his last appearance in 2006 before the double success of UEFA EURO 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
Real said on Sunday that Raul and fellow veteran Guti would be leaving after it became clear that the pair did not fit into the grand plans of new coach Jose Mourinho. Schalke came close to winning the Bundesliga last season but were eventually pipped by Champions League finalists Bayern Munich.
Raul was presented to Schalke fans after a training session on Wednesday. "Schalke is a new challenge," he said. "The Bundesliga is one of the strongest leagues in Europe. Our aim has to be to fight for the Bundesliga title. It will be difficult in the Champions League but we want to progress from the group stage. It will be an eventful season for Schalke."