Certain things are not expected to change. Were. For people like me who watched Spanish football over the years, Raúl González and Real Madrid were indistinguishable. Over the years, the aura might have faded.. but the #7 was a Madridista. Always.
Yesterday, Raúl announced him leaving the club. This does not come as a shock, but it was news Madrid fans did not want to be delivered anytime soon.
Raúl may not the most spectacular player you would see, but the pure passion and grit that you see the left-footer bring to the game, reminds you what gutso and loyalty is. The latter, a soon-to-be forgotten trait in the game. He is a true gentleman, one who never got red-carded in his career.
It is not the end of his playing career, but so strong are certain associations between players and the teams they play for, that you could hardly believe that there is life after that. He did the right thing.. he has accomplished (almost) everything he could at Madrid and would move to Germany for the reminder of his career probably. The fans wish him the best.
For me, Raúl will always be El Siete - the legend from Real Madrid.
P.S. LeBron James, please take note how to leave a team in style.. from the true King.
P.P.S. For the last time, Hala Madrid! Raúl Madrid!
(photo updated: 8.8.10)