New York Cosmos beat Ottawa Fury FC 3-2 in the NASL Championship game on Sunday at James M. Shuart Stadium. It was the final game for Spanish legend Raul.
Gaston Cellerino scored a hat trick to secure the victory for the Cosmos, who won their seventh NASL title. But a lot of the talk afterwards were about 38-year-old Raul who is now retiring after a long and distinguished career.
“Today was my last game to finish my career, and I’m very proud of everything I did,” Raul told The Guardian. “I’ve been lucky enough to play in World Cups, Euro Cups, Champions League, and to win them, but this is soccer to me. To play on artificial turf, in front of crowds, in front of no one. I’ve been able to live all the experiences before I was a professional and a nobody, and after when I had achieved a lot of things. I’ve always enjoyed and I think I will continue to enjoy things from this game, but no longer as a professional player.
“I’ve lived very special moments. It would be an injustice to just name one because they were all so special. The most important thing I can think of now is the accomplishment today.”
Raul spent the majority of his career with Real Madrid. He scored 323 goals in 741 games for the Merengues over 16 season in the Spanish capital. He then moved onto Schalke 04 in the German Bundesliga where he spent two seasons, scoring 40 goals in 98 games, before moving to Al Sadd in the Qatari League. After two seasons with Al Sadd he came to the New York Cosmos, where he has now ended his career with another title. In all, Raul won eight league titles and three Champions League titles, along with scoring 44 goals in 102 caps for Spain.