NEW YORK — Raul acknowledges he doesn't have as much free time to watch soccer now as he used to, but as busy as the Real Madrid legend manages to keep himself since retiring as a player more than a year ago, he still catches more matches than most.
When asked which young players in the game have caught his eye, Raul conceded needing to see more to truly judge players like Monaco's Kylian Mbappe and Tottenham's Dele Alli, who he mentioned as future stars of the game. One young player he has observed a fair amount of is U.S. national team midfielder Christian Pulisic, and what he has seen has left him impressed.
"I love Pulisic," Raul told Goal on Tuesday. "The other day he scored in the win against Bayer Leverkusen. I've seen him for a while and the truth is I love his game. I saw him here in two games with the (U.S.) national team, and I saw him against Mexico.
"I like him a lot. He's a player who can break through, he just needs to keep playing."
The 18-year-old came off the bench to score in Borussia Dortmund's recent win against Leverkusen, and though he is still fighting for consistent playing time on a stacked BVB roster, Pulisic is continuing to impress observers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. That includes Raul, who still calls New York City home despite having retired from the New York Cosmos in October 2015.
Pulisic's breakout season in Germany also included a strong performance in the UEFA Champions League last fall against Raul's former club, Real Madrid. Matches like those have American soccer fans buzzing about Pulisic's potential, but Raul cautions that promising prospects can't be rushed along.
"Young players like Pulsic have the talent," Raul said. "They just need time to develop, and when they can play for important teams it helps that process."