Raul announces his retirement, weighing future with Cosmos Academy

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by DAVE MARTINEZ

The legendary career of the great Raul is over.

The iconic former Real Madrid striker will call it a career following the end of the 2015 New York Cosmos campaign. Moreover, Raul will be making a decision on whether or not he will stay with the Cosmos to head the new Academy program.

“When I signed for the New York Cosmos in December, I said I would evaluate how I felt towards the end of the year and assess whether I would continue to play,” Raul said in a club statement. “My decision is to retire from playing at the end of this season. I am fully focused on finishing the season strong and helping the New York Cosmos win the NASL Championship. In the coming months I will decide the next step in my career.”

Raul signed with the Cosmos October of 2014. According to One World Sports (who originally broke the story), Raul’s deal, which was first announced as a “multiyear” contract, was actually a two-year accord combining both his playing time and Academy work.

Multiple sources tell EoS Raul will now take a month to think about his options before making a final decision to assume the Academy post.

On the field, the legendary Spanish striker has delivered. He has featured in 26 matches, earning 25 starts, scoring seven goals and adding three assists while helping New York to the NASL Spring Championship title.

However, it is the long term prospect of Raul’s Academy involvement that has always drawn the interest of both fans and pundits alike — and that now remains up in the air. Raul’s family loves New York, which is a draw for him to stay, but the star Spanish striker does have some family concerns in Madrid that are weighing on his decision.

While the possibility of losing Raul altogether may be surprising to most, sources tell EoS discussions of both his retirement and departure have been “cordial” and “amicable.” One source says discussions began shortly after the start of the Fall campaign between both coach Giovanni Savarese and the star player.

“Raúl is one of the world’s most iconic players. I knew when we signed him what he would bring on pitch but his knowledge, passion, professionalism and commitment has exceeded my expectations,” Savarese said. “In less than a year, Raúl has become a big part of the team and he will always remain part of the Cosmos family.”

The 38-year-old Raul caps off an amazing career which includes a magical 16-year term with Real Madrid where the star striker net 228 goals (fifth in La Liga history) in 550 appearances, leading the club to six La Liga titles, four Spanish Super Cups, and three UEFA Champions League titles. From there, Raul featured with Germany’s Schalke and then Al Sadd of Qatar before heading to the United States to play for the Cosmos. Internationally, Raul is the second all-time scorer in Spain’s history with 44 goals in 102 appearances.

Raul’s final regular season appearance for the Cosmos comes Halloween night when New York takes on the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Shuart Stadium.

  • 5 Boroughs SC

    I guess one year of playing on that plastic turf, for a minor league team, is enough

    • Alan Smithee

      At his age, I’m impressed his body has held up as well as it has playing on turf. I had more injuries playing beer league soccer on turf than anything else.

    • William

      better than playing on the plastic team in the Bronx or the losers in Harrison.

      • slowleftarm

        Not and issue since at this point he’s not good enough for MLS.

        • William

          go fix that metrostar d it will their downfall. Book it !!!

    • snackman

      Raul was truly a great player so sad he has to end his career in this manner, playing on astro turf, in the minor leagues of US soccer ,with no one watching in the stands and no one in NY knows this great player is playing in New York.

      Let’s hope Real Madrid can give him a proper send off sometime next year.

      • William

        Don’t worry division 1 status will be challenged. So many know he plays for the Cosmos a worldwide famous franchise – the originals. Such an unfamiliar feeling for u – ORIGINAL Franchise. Say it with me.

        u a little thick huh ?

        • snackman

          What’s does your comment have to do with the way Raul is ending his career ? Stay on point!!

          Its really sad to see such a great player end his career in such a sad environment.

          • slowleftarm

            If being an “original” franchise means playing minor leagues games with MLS rejects in a college lacrosse stadium in front of 4k, I’ll pass thanks.

            • Brad

              ….and with no beer? Ditto.

              • William

                get over it Brad have a beer outside.

                • Brad

                  A soccer game without beer is like a hot dog w/ no bun or
                  a taco with no beef. No thanks to minor league soccer and no thanks to the fake cosmos. Especially on a high school lacrosse field.

                  • George

                    Actually, the US is one of the few countries where you can drink beer in the stands of the stadium. The big four of euro soccer you cannot. And the other leagues I’ve been to (Scottish, French, Norwegian) You can’t either. So that’s Spain, England, Germany, Italy, France, Scotland, Norway (games i’ve been to) and in none of those leagues is drinking alcohol in the stands allowed. So what you are really saying is, “being a fat american not being able to get sloshed on beer at a game is like being a fat american and not stuffing my face with hotdogs inside buns and beef without tacos.

                    As for Raul, he knew what he was getting into. He played with Senna on the national team and had played for Al Saad (the best team in a truly wretched league) He wanted to continue to play and wanted to live in New York but didn’t have enough in the tank to play in the MLS (which would have been a step up from the Quatar league)

      • Jordy

        While a standing ovation at a home match would be cool for him, imagine if they invited the Cosmos over for a send off game like Senna got with Villareal.

        Never going to happen, but WW3 would start on this site.

  • Factoid boy

    Turf is the killer as you age. Cant stand it

  • Kevin

    He’s played a lot of minutes, regardless of what the conditions of the field he is playing on are. AS for his retirement, not surprising. I have loved watching him play and wished I had seen him in his prime. He has been am asset to the team. I think more importantly is his decision about the academy. He is a major face for the start of that academy and I hope he’s able to stay.

    • William

      I agree completely. great post.

  • Anonymous

    The announced plan was always for Raul to play one season and then run the academy. His retirement doesn’t reflect negatively upon the cosmos.

    What WILL raise questions is if he chooses to not run the academy. It’ll add to the narrative that the club’s future is questionable

    • snackman

      I don;t think Raul he is going to stay with the Cosmos academy. He has seen what is going on with the NASL that it’s minor league and why involve your self with a league that might not be around in a number of years.

      Raul is going back to Spain where he can work with Rsal Madrid.

      • William

        same comments over and over u have 3 brain cells all fighting with each. what a drone u r.

        • snackman

          and you can’t put 2 sentences together.

          What a loser.

          • William

            actually u aren’t worth a half of sentence. Sorry prick I have a high volume high pressured job I don’t leave in my mutha’s basement eating 3 day olde chili pickin my ******* . u *******.

            • Aljalikeakick

              The counter at Burger King DOES get hectic, especially at lunchtime. Very true.

              • William

                what rock did u crawl out from under u effin slugbitchface

                • slowleftarm

                  What I’ve learned on this site is that being a Cosmos fan makes you an angry angry person.

    • William

      I don’t understand the parallel between the whole franchise’s existence and him running the academy – both are mutually exclusive. Raul will not run academy so the Cosmos will just fold. That’s illogical.

      • slowleftarm

        True, they’ll probably fold anyway.

        • William

          and what would u do with yourself besides pick you nose and eat it

          moron

          • Slow Left Arm

            I will do the same thing I do now. I will jack off to a photo of Marco Senna and hate myself for doing it.

      • MTF

        Raul may decide not to remain with the Cosmos and work in their academy if he believes the team and/or league don’t have much of a future. He can go back to Spain and work with an established La Liga academy. That’s the point. The Cosmos are playing in a college turf stadium in front of 3,500 people…it’s a far cry from Real Madrid and still a long way just to get to MLS standards. He may just say ‘thanks for the opportunity to visit NY’ and be done with it.

  • David Carlin, Farm Animal Molester

    Least he came to play. Unlike the Guy who went to England to “stay fit”. He will be missed.

  • Pingback: Watch: New York Cosmos star Raul discusses his retirement - Empire of Soccer()

  • Kevin

    No one has a clue why he might not do the academy, so MLS fans let not jump to ur usual shots at the NASL. An academy headed by Raul for our youth soccer players is a plus regardless of what team hes working for.

    • slowleftarm

      In all seriousness though, how do we know how good he’ll be at developing youth players? The best players aren’t always the best coaches.

  • Kevin

    Very true slow, but at this point the Cosmos need a face, and an ambassador to the game…someone with familiarity to expand if they r ever going to grow

  • rebel fighter

    Hate to see a good soldier go. The turf not only at Hofstra but around the league is deplorable. When your players express a preference to play at MCU Park and the front office decides to continue play at Hofstra for 2016; then you have to question whether the FO cares, listens and out of touch . It will be difficult to attract any big names as long as the Cosmos play in a D2 league, Long Island and turf.

  • Kevin

    I totally agree, that turf is brutal. Turf in general for soccer is. And I don’t understand what our front office is doing.

    • William

      the front office is trying to make something happen but the obstacles are massive. remember its NY land of rules, regulations, ordinances etc.

  • George

    I’ve been to a couple of Cosmos games. The product on the field is okay. I’m not bothered by the mediocre level. But man, that is one lousy field they play on, and impossible to get to. I just don’t see how they can continue playing in a secondary league without a stadium. They are almost like the Harlem Globetrotters. What are they gonna do, get a big stadium, continue to play in crap league, and try to sign players like Raul? They have to try to find a way into the MLS or there is no future. Accept the MLS’s terms (which they turned down) but it might be too late for that anyway. I would be shocked SHOCKED if Raul stayed to work in that academy.

  • Pingback: Raul announces his retirement, weighing future with Cosmos Academy | Business Daily Report()

  • REAL OpenCupFans know nasl teams are bad

    agree that it would be very surprising if Raul stayed to work on the future cosmos academy (will it ever happen?). nasl is 2nd/3rd division in the US, he can jump onto a La Liga outfit with much more prestige – nasl teams can’t even beat USL teams?…

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  • Larry’s A Simpleton

    raul is smart enough to see the handwriting on the wall.

    my insider tells me raul got wind of the pending FBI investigation of that crook o’brien. once shady seamus gets arrested the f.cosmos are DOA.

    no f.cosmos. no move to connecticut. no academy. its over.

    wonder if obrien is planning a quick trip to cuba?

    • rebel fighter

      I read the same also. If true, the stadium build is over.