With Raul joining Schalke after sixteen years with Real Madrid, leaving behind the captaincy, an all time goal scoring record, and a career that has become a legacy should he have done what few have done and retired being a one club man and keep that legacy intact.
No matter how successful or unsuccessful Raul is at Schalke he will never be able to be one of those players that will forever be immortalised at one club. And there is something to be said for the accomplishment that is being a one club man, to be forever talked about by that club, having ended where you begun. Players that may not have set the world alight such as Gary Neville or a superstar like Ryan Giggs will always be remembered by the fans for years to come. They will forever be an Untied player, never being shared by any other club and their fans and that is a special thing and something David Beckham will miss out on and he knows it.
In an interview he said “I’d have loved to have stayed at Manchester United for my whole career and never gone anywhere else but it just wasn’t meant to be,” he went in to say “It takes a special person and a player to stay at a club for so many years. Ryan’s been there for so many years now and he’ll be part of Manchester United for life.” As great as Beckham was at Manchester united, with all his quality and star attraction in twenty years time it’s going to be the likes of Giggs and Scholes that will be talked about.
Just look at what it does to a player when they have spent their whole career at just one club. Paolo Maldini is immortalised in football history along with Baresi and Costacurta. That legendary Milan team had Baresi, Costacurta and Maldini at their core, with other legendary players but those three are in the Rossoneri hearts so much so that Maldini and Baresis’ numbers have been retired.
Matthew Le Tissier spent his whole career at Southampton, a player with great ability, he was admired not just in the Premiership but around the world. Xavi is quoted as saying “His talent was simply out of the norm. He could simply dribble past seven or eight players but without speed – he just walked past them. For me he was sensational”.If he had left Southampton for a more prestigious club, he may have won trophies or personal accolades, but would he have the legacy he has at Southampton and because of that in football, probably not.
Along with their great careers and achievements in the game their loyalty will be remembered more by the fans for the years to come. Raul is not going to be forgotten in any way but that chance to be joining that elite list of players that have had their career at one club gone and if Raul wins the Bundesliga with Schalke, and finishes top goal scorer that will boost his own CV but take away some of his legacy at Madrid and put some into Schalke.
Raul may have left to keep his career going and the fans are respecting that, but when the goals dry up and the performances start to fade, the loyalty shown is forever remembered. It adds something even more special than their ability or what they did for the club, their loyalty, their love for the club over their personal achievements, that in the end wins the fans heart and deep down the fans would have loved it if Raul stayed and retired at the club a Real legend.