Raul Closer to Schalke 04, Away from MLS

Cristian SireraContributor IJuly 5, 2010

PALMA, SPAIN - JANUARY 11:  Raul Gonzalez of Real Madrid salutes travelling Real supporters after he scored  scores his team's second goal during the La Liga match betwen Mallorca and Real Madrid at the San Moix stadium on January 11, 2009 in Palma, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

For those of us who have followed Raúl since he was 17 years old, in his debut against Valladolid, seeing him with a different jersey would just look odd.

However, one of the best soccer players in the history of Spain might be cutting his Real Madrid stint one year short of his contract.

The 33-year-old striker is looking for a way out. Mourinho's arrival will most likely make it more difficult for him to see any playing time at the Bernabeu, in a season where the Portuguese coach will want to win everything with the best players.

Several destinations were linked to Gonzalez Blanco, and in the past couple of months,  Major League Soccer seemed to have an advantage over the rest, as Real Madrid's captain admitted he loved New York City and always wanted to take his family there. For a year, he may just try his luck in MLS.

However, with the Spaniard still in shape to be a valuable player for virtually any European team, the spotlight has shifted to Germany—Schalke 04 is very interested in him.

Felix Magath, the German team's coach, has already announced they are "very much interested" in Raúl. Some say this announcement comes hours after the player has already negotiated the terms of his new contract in the Bundesliga.

The German team is waiting for Raúl to announce his decision publicly before making an official statement.

The Spanish media talks about a possible two-year contract, in which the legend would receive four million Euro per season, with Real Madrid paying him for the remaining year he has with Los Blancos.

Raúl would meet once again with Cristoph Metzelder, former Real Madrid defender who has found his touch back in Germany. Schalke 04 finished second in the last edition of the Bundesliga, and will be competing in the Champions League.

Magath has asked his president for Raúl as the keystone for an ambitious project; and what better keystone than the maximum scorer of the history of the Champions League?

Schalke 04, who is sponsored by the Russian gas company Gazprom, will have no problems meeting Raúl's demands.

The giant enterprise promised to pump over 60 million Euro into the club over a five-year span from 2006 to 2011, but with a clause that stipulated that if the German team were to play in the Champions League, the number would increase to 100 million Euro.

Unless a more prestigious team in England makes a better—and more attractive offer—to Raúl, the striker will announce his decision to leave Real Madrid around mid-July, after 16 years with the club.

Raúl is the third maximum scorer in the history of La Liga, with 227 goals, and the player with most appearances with Real Madrid, with over 700.

He has also won six Spanish Ligas, three Champions League trophies, and has been nominated to the Ballon d'Or 10 times, among many other distinctions.