On Monday of last week, reports emerged that the New York Cosmos had reached an agreement with Raul Gonzalez Blanco to join them for the 2015 NASL season. Today, the club have confirmed that the player has signed a contract to join the club next season pending a physical, and reports have suggested that it will be a multi-year deal. The club, however, did not disclose the specifics of the arrangement, but did confirm that Raul will oversee the new Cosmos' academy after his playing days are done.
Head coach Gio Savarese commented on Raul's addition, and what he'll bring to the academy:
"We’re obviously thrilled to add a player of his quality to the team. Raúl’s skill and ability is world renowned. He’s a world-class player and he adds a whole new dimension to our attack."
"He also brings immense passion and knowledge that he can share with our team and with the next generation of Cosmos players in our youth academy. He’ll help set the academy training curriculum, structure and establish our player development pyramid."
Raul added the following about signing with the Cosmos:
"Everyone throughout the soccer world knows the Cosmos name and the legacy of the players that played for this team previously. They helped establish soccer in America and I’m honored to follow in their footsteps. I believe in this club’s vision and I’m excited to be a part of that."
What Raul still has left in the tank is still very much in question, but it's hard to imagine that he's not good enough to still be one of the better attackers in the NASL. One thing is certain, however. It will be awfully exciting to see a player with Raul's stature taking the pitch for the Cosmos regularly, and there's probably not a team in North America who will field a pair with a better pedigree than Marcos Senna and Raul.