Raul plays final game at Bernabeu, hands off No. 7 to Ronaldo

Posted by Chris Wright

When Raul left the Spanish capital to join Schalke three years ago, there was a general sense that the send-off given to him wasn't really befitting a man who spent 18 years at Real Madrid (having joined as a 14-year-old in 1992) and went on to become both the club's all-time record appearance maker and scorer.

With that in mind, Raul returned to the Bernabeu with his current side, Al-Sadd, for the annual one-off Torneo Santiago Bernabeu friendly Thursday night, which saw Senor Gonzalez Blanco play 45 minutes for both sides as the fixture gradually turned into a misty-eyed love-in for the legendary striker.

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas handed the captain's armband to Raul as he lined up for his former side before kickoff, with the 36-year-old veteran poacher rolling back the years to open the scoring with a trademark finish as Madrid went on to steamroller their Qatari opponents 5-0 and take their ninth straight Torneo victory.

Ahead of the tie, Cristiano Ronaldo agreed to step aside and wear the No. 11 -- reportedly going to Gareth Bale so Raul could once again don the famous No. 7 he once wore with such distinction on his return to his old stomping ground -- and there came a touching moment at half-time when Raul removed his iconic jersey and symbolically handed it to Ronaldo on his way up the tunnel to change into his Al-Sadd strip.

And to top off the night, Raul came back on the pitch after the final whistle and gave the Bernabeu crowd one last "matador" performance in the centre circle . . . .

Now that's a proper goodbye!


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