MADRID, July 26 – An emotional Raul said his last farewell to the Real Madrid supporters on Monday ahead of his proposed move to German first division side Schalke.At a press conference preceding the farewell party at the Bernabeu for the 33-year-old striker and his long-standing teammate Guti, who is also leaving the club, Raul said: "It is a very difficult day for me, one of the most difficult of my career."
"I will never forget you," he said in an address to the club’s supporters. "Real Madrid has been my home…I think that one day I will return to the club."
"These last 15, 16 years you have highs and lows," he added. "Last season, I played a lesser role in the team and decided that maybe it was the right time to try a new life in another country."
The club announced on Sunday that Raul, who spent 16 years at the Bernabeu, and Guti would be leaving after it became clear that the pair did not fit into the plans of new coach Jose Mourinho.
Raul, however, said that his decision to leave was not based on the limited role he might play under the new coach.
"It wasn’t about not playing," he said. "I can’t say for certain obviously but I am confident that I could have performed well this season.
"I spoke with the coach and he said he would like me to stay but I want to do something different. I want that challenge to see things from a differnet perspective."
Raul, however, praised the arrival of Mourinho.
"I like Jose Mourinho and the clubs he has coached. He is absolutely the right man for the job.
"It is not easy leaving as I can learn many things from Mourinho. I would have loved to have trained under Jose Mourinho but it just wasn’t the right time the right place and I wasn’t suddenly going to change my mind."
Club president Florentino Perez described Raul as "the best of the best".
Raul played for Real since 1994, winning six Spanish championships and three Champions League titles. He scored a record 323 goals in a 740 appearances in the Madrid jersey.
He also scored 44 goals in 102 games for Spain, making his last appearance in 2006 before the double success of Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
Raul said that he has been having deep discussions with Schalke but nothing would be settled in the next few days. He has also been linked with a move to the English Premier League.
On Sunday, Guti made his farewell before heading off probably to Besiktas in Turkey.