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Raul bids farewell to Real Madrid; Guti signs for Besiktas

Raul bids farewell to Real Madrid fans after deciding to end his 18-year stay with the Spanish club.
Raul bids farewell to Real Madrid fans after deciding to end his 18-year stay with the Spanish club.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Raul leaves Spanish giants Real Madrid after 18 years at the club
  • The 33-year-old says he is heading for either Germany or England
  • Raul joined Real Madrid in 1992 and is the club's leading scorer with 323 goals in 741 games
  • He is also Spain's all-time leading scorer with 44 goals in 102 games

(CNN) -- Real Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer Raul has confirmed he is heading to either Germany or England after bidding an emotional farewell to the Spanish club.

The 33-year-old has decided to leave the Bernabeu after discussions during the close season with new coach Jose Mourinho and club president Florentino Perez.

After making his debut for the club aged 17, Raul went on to amass 323 goals in 741 games for Real and he is also his country's leading scorer with 44 goals in 102 games for Spain.

In a tearful speech Raul said his decision to leave was a "painful one, but I think it is also the correct one," and said his next destination will be a club in Germany or England.

Speculation has been rife that Raul was on the verge of signing for German club Schalke, but the striker told a press conference his future is yet to be finalized.

He said he would make a decision in the next few days: "I have had very deep discussions with Schalke but there are other teams that are also interested. My future lies in Germany or England."

Raul won six Spanish league titles and three Champions League crowns during his stay at Madrid, and he told fans who gathered to mark his departure that he would support Real Madrid wherever he went.

This is a very tough and difficult day. I will always support Real Madrid wherever I go.
--Raul
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"This is a very tough and difficult day," he told reporters. "Football has been my life and Real Madrid my home. Together we have lived unique moments.

"I have worn the shirt of the best team in the world for 15 years. I am now 33 and it was my last chance to experience playing football outside of Spain. It was a long, hard decision, but this isn't a goodbye, but rather a see you later.

"I feel like a footballer still and I will keep on playing but I will always be loyal to Real Madrid. I have tried to give everything in my time here.

"A new period starts today. I have been happy at Real Madrid and I will always be willing to help the club in whatever it needs."

Tributes poured into Raul from his teammates, including Cristiano Ronaldo who told the club's official website: "Playing by Raul's side has been an honor. I always dreamed of doing so as a kid."

New Real captain Iker Casillas added: "Raul is a symbol of Real Madrid. A great captain is defined by ups and downs, knowing how to always make the best of any situation.

"Raul is an example of professionalism and he helped me grow as a player and person. The incredible histories of clubs are written by great footballers, and Raul is one of them."

Real president Florentino Perez said: "We will never forget Raul. There are many men who form part of the legend of Real Madrid but few that are chosen to embody the club - Raul is one of those."

Meanwhile, Raul's former Real Madrid teammate Guti has signed a two-year deal with Besiktas, the Turkish club have confirmed on their website.

The 33-year-old joined the youth academy aged just nine and made his debut for Real in 1995. He went on to make 542 appearances, scoring 77 goals.

Besiktas, based in the Turkish capital Istanbul, finished fourth in the league last season and play the first-leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie this Thursday.