The New York Cosmos, in their eternal search for headlines, have signed former Real Madrid legend, Raúl.
This is news, I promise. The NYC Soccer Wars are real. That have cost lives, split up families, and left villages from Hoboken to the Hamptons in ashes. You don’t know this, because New York media gives local soccer about 500 total words of space per week, but trust me, it’s true. The Cosmos saw a chance to strike a strategic blow and plant a green flag in the middle of Manhattan while Red Bull New York “struggle” and before NYCFC have a chance to complete their army. When you have the chance to sign the Jeff Cunningham of Qatari soccer, you do it without hesitation.
Sarcasm aside, Raúl’s resumé is impeccable. His 228 goals in 550 appearances for Real Madrid, 44 more goals for Spain, and a broom closet full of individual awards don’t capture what he has meant for both club and country.
The problem is, that guy isn’t on his way to Long Island. Who the Cosmos are getting is the 37-year-old former captain of Al-Sadd. That reads “former” because Raúl announced his retirement from the club and the game back in March, but never doubt the cosmopolitan allure of Hempstead, Long Island. The Fuddrucker’s there is amazing.
Congrats, Cosmos. You’ve got your superstar. I hope Shuart Stadium is expandable.
Truthfully, Raúl’s biggest impact will probably come in his as yet undefined role with the Cosmos’ academy. He can tap into his 37 years — wow, 37 years — of experience and a career that’s brought him tremendous success at the highest levels. Lord knows that impact won’t be at the box office. Second division American soccer is still second division American soccer, no matter what Jurgen Klinsmann and the pro-rel dungeon goblins would lead you to believe.
Good on ya, Cosmos! You’ve been passing “Do you like me?” notes to Raúl for months now, and he’s finally checked the “YES” box. Blessings and many happy returns. May your 2015 Apertura season, or whatever it is NASL does, be filled with warmth, togetherness, and limited track delays on the LIRR. You deserve it.