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The former Madrid star admitted that it was not an easy decision for him to leave Schalke, and added that he will depart Europe to ply his trade in a "less competitive league"

Raul has announced that he will leave Schalke at the end of the season to join a non-European club.

The German outfit had offered the Spaniard a one-year extension to his expiring deal, with his wages reduced from €7 million to €4m, but the 34-year-old has made the decision not to stay on with the Konigsblauen.

The experienced attacker conceded that it was a difficult decision for him to say farewell to the Bundesliga side, but feels he has made the right call to move on.

"I have made a decision about my future, and will not stay at Schalke. It has been a really tough decision. I'd like to thank the club, the president and the manager for their patience. This decision is the right one for me," Raul said at a press conference.

"My future doesn't lie in Europe. I will get together with my agent to discuss the offers we have received. I will then announce where I will go. It will be a less competitive league.

"My decision is based on several factors. I'm still confident enough to play in a top league, but I can't foresee the future. The key factor is my family. In the Bundesliga you don't have much time with your family. My choice of which league to join will reflect my desire to spend more time with my family.

"I want to thank the club, coaches and coaching staff. I had a wonderful two years here and the club will always be in my heart. I also want to say many thanks to the fans. They are very special, showed me lots respect and affection. It will be emotionally difficult to say goodbye. Schalke will always be a part of my life."

Raul has been linked with moves to the United States and Asia in the past few months, but his agent Gines Carvajal recently dismissed reports that he was set to move to Qatar.

Schalke will offer the attacker a farewell match in 2013 against a yet-to-be-named Spanish opponent. Additionally, the Bundesliga side will retire Raul's No.7 for an indefinite period.

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