Former Real Madrid striker Raul joins Qatar's Al Sadd

DOHA Sun May 13, 2012 8:12am IST

Schalke 04's Raul (R) of Spain watches the Emir Cup final match between Al-Sadd and Al-Gharafa at Khalifa stadium in Doha May 12, 2012. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

Schalke 04's Raul (R) of Spain watches the Emir Cup final match between Al-Sadd and Al-Gharafa at Khalifa stadium in Doha May 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Fadi Al-Assaad

DOHA (Reuters) - Former Real Madrid striker Raul has joined Al Sadd of Qatar after leaving Schalke 04 at the end of his contract with the Bundesliga club, the Asian champions said on Saturday.

"Al Sadd Club will held a news conference... on Sunday to introduce Raul Gonzalez to the media after signing the player who will join the team starting from next season 2012-2013," said a statement on Al Sadd's website (www.al-saddclub.com).

The club did not give any further details but Spanish media reported that Raul, 34, had signed a one-year deal with Al Sadd, who finished third at the World Club Cup in December.

"Raul has arrived in Doha and attended the final match of the Emir Cup between Al Sadd and Al Gharafa at Khalifa international stadium," the club's statement added referring to a match Al Gharafa won in a penalty shootout on Saturday.

The former Spain striker had been at Schalke for two seasons, scoring 28 Bundesliga goals in 66 matches.

Last month when it was announced he would leave Schalke, Raul told reporters: "My future lies outside Europe in a league that is not so strong in playing terms as the Bundesliga."

Raul, whose international career ended in 2006, joined Schalke after he became surplus to requirements at Real Madrid, the club where he had been a talismanic figure.

It was uncertain how well he would adapt to rainy, industrial Gelsenkirchen, where Schalke have an almost cult-like following, after the more refined surroundings of the Bernabeu.

However, he settled in well, scoring 13 goals in his first Bundesliga season and five more in the Champions League, taking his all-time tally in Europe's top club competition to a record 71 goals as Schalke reached the semi-finals.

Raul continued to score regularly this term with 15 more goals in the Bundesliga, two in the Cup and four in the Europa League. In all, he scored 40 goals for the Royal Blues.

After deciding not to extend his deal at Schalke, Raul said: "It was not an easy decision to make. I've had two wonderful years and will always have a place for Schalke in my heart."

(Reporting by Ahmed Mamdouh in Cairo; Writing by Ken Ferris in London, editing by Greg Stutchbury; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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