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Real Madrid legend Raul signs with New York Cosmos, source says

The New York Cosmos have signed former Real Madrid and Spain striker Raul to a multi-year contract, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPN FC.

ESPN FC reported earlier that the two sides had agreed to terms, and it has now been confirmed that Raul has put pen to paper.

"The deal's done -- the Cosmos have signed Raul to a multi-year contract, pending his physical," the source said. "The team's likely to announce it formally in the next day or two."

The former Madrid icon will join the NASL club in time for the 2015 spring season. The source added that in addition to his playing duties, Raul will take on an advisory role with the club's youth academy, where he will help establish training guidelines as well as the academy's overall structure.

Upon his retirement, Raul will head up the academy full time.

Raul, 37, made 102 appearances for Spain, and his 44 goals leave him behind only David Villa in the country's top-scorer list.

He spent the bulk of his club career with Real Madrid, and is the club's all-time leading scorer, scoring 323 times in all competitions.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TOP SCORERS

1. Lionel Messi - 77 (97 games) - Barcelona
1. Cristiano Ronaldo - 77 (119) - Man Utd, Real Madrid
3. Raul - 71 (142) - Real Madrid, Schalke 04
4. Ruud van Nistelrooy - 56 (73) - PSV, Man Utd, Real Madrid
5. Thierry Henry - 50 (112) - Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona

After completing his 16th season with Los Blancos in 2010 -- a spell in which the club won six La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns -- he moved to Bundesliga side Schalke.

Raul played for the Gelsenkirchen-based club for two seasons, after which he spent two season with Al-Sadd. He made his last appearance for the Qatari side last March.

Since that time, the Cosmos have been aggressively pursuing Raul. Published reports indicated that there was a time when it looked like the former Spain international might join up with New York during the fall season.

But Real Madrid then made an offer to Raul to become technical director -- with club president Florentino Perez saying the striker was keen on a role -- while Al-Sadd made a push for the player to head up its academy.

The additional options delayed his final decision, but the Cosmos were persistent, and after Raul visited the club earlier this month, they were able to convince the player to sign.

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