Raúl García, captain and Atlético legend, will join Athletic Club on a four-year-deal on a sum believed to be €8-10million.
Eight years ago, 21-year-old Raúl García signed for the club for a record fee of €13million. Today, he leaves a captain, a man, a legend and most importantly, a friend to everyone who played for the club.
Koke scored the 0-1 at the Sanchez Pizjuan, looked to the stands and dedicated his goal to the legend. Gabi scored the second and the celebration, actually dedication, was the same: five fingers on one hand and three on the other. ‘Cholo’ Simeone joined in and showed his respect to the real Raúl. Raúl García 8. RG8. Leyenda Rojiblanca.
After the Champions League semifinal in Stamford Bridge, Simeone thanked the players’ mothers for birthing them with massive bollocks. Surely, he called and personally thanked Raúl García’s mother and if not, I’ll do it here: Muchísimas gracias señora García.
No other player leaving has caused such a row from Atleti players past or present. Juanfran, Godín, Koke, Antonio López, Thibaut Courtois, Filipe Luis and Gabi all thanked Raúl García.
Atleti isn’t just losing a player; Atleti is losing a member of the family.
329 matches. Raúl played 329 matches for Atlético de Madrid. He won six titles with the club, only missing the second Europa League as he was playing in Osasuna on loan. Raúl leaves as the player with the most European matches for Atlético de Madrid, 71. But seriously, once again 329 matches. Ídolo.
His performances with the club, especially under Cholo, earned him his first call-ups for the Spanish national team. He chose the number seven. Why? Unlike Real Madrid legend, who happens to share the same name, he’s the real Raúl.
A little less than a year ago, I bought his jersey. I shouldn’t have. Every time I buy a jersey with a name on it, the player leaves the following season: Diego Forlán, Álvaro Dominguez, Diego Costa and now Raúl García. If I could go back in time, I would.
Gracias Raúl García. Every Atlético is anxiously waiting for Athletic Club to come to the Calderón to give you the goodbye you deserve. Gracias, gracias, gracias y gracias.
Me paro ya porque se me caen las lagrimas. (I’ll stop now because I’m beginning to cry.)
Don Raúl García, ladies and gentleman.
What are you favourite Raúl García moments in red and white?