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End of an era

MADRID, July 26 – Real Madrid have confirmed that captain and record-breaking striker Raul will leaved the club on Monday after 16 years in the first team and with German side Schalke his destination.Raul, who has played for Real since 1994, won six La Liga championships and three Champions League titles during his time with the Spanish giants.

He has scored 323 times in 740 appearances for the club.

Fellow veteran Guti, a product of Real’s youth system who made his pro debut in 1995, said earlier Sunday that he was leaving with Besiktas in Turkey his likely new home.

Both men have been told by new coach Jose Mourinho that they do not form part of his plans for the new season.

A statement on the Real official website on Sunday announced that 33-year-old Raul would be afforded a farewell celebration at the Bernabeu.

"The farewell party will start at 1pm. Club president Florentino Perez will be present, and it will be followed by a press conference by Raul and general director Jorge Valdano," said a club statement.

Guti said Sunday that he was closing a "glorious stage" in his career as he parted ways with Real Madrid after 15 seasons.

"I believe you have to be aware that there are stages that close and in this case for me it is a very glorious stage at Real Madrid which is coming to an end," the 33-year-old told a news conference.

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Guti, who had another year on his contract, said he was considering an offer from Besiktas, where he would be coached by German’s Bernd Schuster, who managed Real between 2007 and 2008.

"I have a good offer from them, an interesting one, now we will see," he said.

"I think you have to make room for younger players and know that football is like that."

"It is a complicated and difficult moment but you have to know that these things happen in football and that at certain moments, regardless of the talent you have, it is your time to leave a club or leave football and life goes on."

Guti, a product of the club’s youth system, made his pro debut in 1995.

He helped Real win five domestic league titles and three European Champions League titles, having scored 86 goals in 542 appearances for the club. Only eight other players have played more matches for the club in its history.

Guti, who can play as an attacking midfielder, striker or central midfielder, has also honour of being the man who scored the team’s 5,000th goal.

Real Madrid director general Jorge Valdano thanked the player "for giving the best years of his life to this club."

"He is a unique player, a very special player who is capable of surprising during each match," he said as he sat beside Guti at the news conference.

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