MADRID, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Raul Gonzalez Blanco was in tears on Monday as he officially announced his departure from Real Madrid.
The former club captain leaves the club where he has spent all his career, making 741 appearances and scoring 323 goals.
He made his debut in October 1994 and at an emotional packed press conference in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Monday made his last appearances as a Real Madrid player, before completing a move to German side Schalke 04.
The departure of the club's record goalscorer marks the end of an era at Real Madrid, above all because it comes just 24 hours after Guti used the same scenario to make public his departure.
With the two veterans, both of whom have spent over 20 years each linked to the club, moving on, Real Madrid will now look to the future, but Raul wanted to express his gratitude for all the club had helped him to achieve.
During his career he won six Primera Liga titles as well as three Champions Leagues as well as making 102 appearances for the Spain national team, for whom he is still the all time top scorer with 44 goals.
"Today is a difficult day for me. Thanks to everyone. I love football above almost everything else and playing for Real Madrid is the best dream I could imagine," he said.
The 33-year-old then gave the reasons for his departure when he still has a year left on his contract.
"I feel like a footballer and I want to continue feeling I am a player in the time that my body will allow me, but I want people to know that in every move, turn, shot or gesture, I tried to give my all. The word 'surrender' has never existed for me, because I have belonged to Real Madrid," he said.
Raul then thanked all of the club presidents with whom he had worked, along with his team-mates and Jorge Valdano, who gave him his first team debut.
He ended his speech by sending his best wishes to honorary President Alfredo Di Stafano, who is currently in hospital recovering from heart and respiratory problems.