Raul essential to Real Madrid's history - Perez


Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has lauded club great Raul following his retirement from professional football.

The Spanish forward recently had his record of 323 Madrid goals bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo, but his haul of 16 trophies with the Santiago Bernabeu club still surpasses the Portuguese's tally.

Raul played the final professional match of his career as New York Cosmos overcame Ottawa Fury 3-2 to win the North American Soccer League (NASL) title on Sunday.

In a heartfelt letter published on Madrid's official website, Perez praised the 38-year-old for his years of service to the Spanish giants.

"Every Madrid supporter is aware of the true importance of his gigantic role," Perez wrote. "Raul is an essential figure when it comes to assessing Real Madrid's most recent history.

"This is the farewell to one of the greatest players in our legendary club history. I am privileged to have been able to share unforgettable experiences and titles with him.

"For every Real Madrid fan, Raul was, is, and always will be, an example of honesty, work, the ability to resist defeat and someone that is passionate about football.

"His 16 titles won in our shirt demonstrate his greatness, his sense of loyalty and his commitment to Real Madrid.

"Today, wherever he may be, I am sure that our beloved president of honour Alfredo Di Stefano will feel the pride that all of us who love Raul feel.

"Raul was one of Alfredo Di Stefano's great and worthy successors. 

"Thank you Raul, for having helped to make Real Madrid great with your dedication and talent."

Raul stated he would be moving onto another project following Sunday's match, and Perez added he will always be welcome at the Bernabeu.

"Your example will be forever recognised at Real Madrid, where you know that the doors are always open to you because for years, you fuelled the legend of los Blancos and because you too are a legend."