'I want to spoil Raul's party'

The Real Madrid and Spain legend brings the curtain down on his glittering career on Sunday, but one man wants to ruin his swansong

GOALEXCLUSIVE    By Ryan Kelly
 

Raul will play the final game of his illustrious career when New York Cosmos face Ottawa Fury in Sunday's North American Soccer League [NASL] final, but Richie Ryan is determined to "spoil the party".

The former Real Madrid and Spain striker recently announced his decision to retire and could end his playing days with a final piece of silverware.

However, victory is no certainty, particularly if Ryan has his way, with the Ottawa Fury star keen to steal the limelight for himself.

"I'd love to be the one to spoil the party," he told Goal. "Me scoring goals is something that rarely happens, but I'm hoping that one of the boys will spoil the party for Raul and the Cosmos.

"[Scoring goals] is not my job on the team, but if I get a chance to do it on Sunday, I'll be extremely happy."

That said, Ryan was also quick to praise Raul for his longevity and said the 38-year-old's decision to join the league had given the division a much-needed boost in profile.

"For me, personally, it's an honour and a privilege to be playing against players like that," he continued.

"You just have to look at Raul's career to see what an amazing career he's had, to be the highest scorer at Real Madrid for so long. 

"I think people forget that when he left Real Madrid he was playing for Schalke in the Champions League. To be playing at that level for so many years, you've got to be an extremely good talent.

"And the same for Marcos Senna. He's somebody that I've admired watching for many years, when he played for Spain, winning European Championships. They're two top talents.

"For the league moving forward it's great to have such well-known players like them. The league is trying to expand every season and it's important that they have faces within the league that can do that for them.

"They are the players that are known world-wide, so to have them come to your league it's a big plus."