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Raul Leaving Schalke: Should MLS Sign Spanish Legend?

BILBAO, SPAIN - APRIL 05:  Raul Gonzalez of FC Schalke 04 waves at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg match between Athletic Bilbao and FC Schalke 04 at San Mames Stadium on April 5, 2012 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Angel Martinez/Getty Images
Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterApril 19, 2012

Reports out of Germany today say Raul Gonzalez, the UEFA Champions League's all-time leading goalscorer, will leave Schalke 04 at the end of the season.

Raul, 34, is also Real Madrid's all-time leading scorer. His contract with Schalke runs out at the end of the season, and he has reportedly told the club he will leave.

From Eurosport-Yahoo!:

"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 Qatar.

"My future lies outside Europe in a league that is not so strong in playing terms as the Bundesliga," the player told reporters.

"It was not an easy decision to make. I have had two wonderful years and will always have a place for Schalke in my heart."

Qatar, eh?

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - DECEMBER 08:  Raul Gonzalez of Real cuts between Benoit Cheyrou (l) and Taye Taiwo (r) during the Marseille v Real Madrid UEFA Champions League Group C match at the Stade Velodrome on December 8, 2009 in Marseille, France.  (Photo by M
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Admittedly, Qatar would fit Raul's wish for "a league that is not so strong in playing terms as the Bundesliga." But so would Major League Soccer (sorry, MLS fanboys, but it's true).

Raul and MLS flirted late in 2009, and some more in early 2010. Back then, several clubs were mentioned as possible destinations, from the Philadelphia Union to the Seattle Sounders to the Los Angeles Galaxy to the New York Red Bulls.

This time, reports linking Raul and MLS are more scarce, but ESPN.co.uk is one source reporting on it.

On Twitter, meanwhile, pundits near and far started some half-serious speculation.

So, who's going to orchestrate the 'Raul to MLS' campaign? Can I nominate myself? #MLS

— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) April 19, 2012

Actually, that distinction might go to B/R world football editor Will Tidey and ESPN Soccernet's Dale Johnson.

@willtidey Must be coming to Wednesyday. Gelsenkirchen is the Sheffield of Germany.

— Dale Johnson (@dalejohnsonESPN) April 19, 2012

Raul to the MLS? He's still got a lot to offer and the commercial gains of signing him are potentially huge. Same with Del Piero.

— Will Tidey (@willtidey) April 19, 2012

All kidding aside, what do you say?

Should MLS go for Raul? He would command a high salary (for MLS) but his name is still well known around the world—though maybe not as much in the United States.

Or is it? Would the Hispanic population of, say, Los Angeles welcome the legendary Real Madrid striker with open arms?

Leave your views in the comments.

 

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