Cosmos introduce Raul to local media

IMAGE, DAVE MARTINEZ FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Real Madrid legend Raúl González Blanco was officially introduced to the New York area media, concluding a year long courtship between player and club.

The Four Seasons Hotel in Midtown Manhattan set the stage in the fitting “Cosmopolitan Room” where local media caught their first glimpse of the 37-year-old European striker.

“I want to thank [Cosmos owner] Seamus [O’Brien] for giving me this opportunity to play for the New York Cosmos and also I would like to thank [Sporting Director and Coach] Giovanni [Savarese] for trusting me with this project.

“It’s a great honor to become part of this historic and grand club.  I hope to build upon the great history of the New York Cosmos and contribute to their great future.”

Simply known as Raul, the European great spoke at length about his involvement with the club and his expectations in signing for the Cosmos.

“My focus will be on the field, to help the team win many games, and pass on my experience to the younger players,” Raul said.  “I will also help develop the structure of our youth academy.”

Raul revealed that two years of his multi-year deal will be concentrated on the field.  Upon retirement, he will take charge of the Academy program.

He also spoke openly about eschewing other opportunities to join the club, including an enticing offer from Real Madrid.

“It’s one thing playing and another thing to coach,” he said.  “Everyone knows about my career, 20 years since my debut, playing with Real Madrid, Germany, Qatar, working in an academy.  Over the past eight months, Gio has called me every month about the Cosmos.

“The project itself convinced me,” he continued.  “For the end of my career, I always hoped to come to the U.S. and there is no better city than New York, no club like the New York Cosmos for the big history with Pele, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia,  Many made this club big and now there is a new age and I want to contribute to that effort.”

Take a look at the press conference in its entirety: