Real Madrid legend Raul lasted just 53 minutes of his competitive New York Cosmos debut on Saturday.
The 37-year-old was making his first regular season appearance in the North American Soccer League (NASL) since making the switch to the US from Al Sadd in Qatar, and he played his part as Cosmos beat the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1-0.
Raul – who earlier this season saw his 71-goal UEFA Champions League record broken by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – almost latched on to a 34th-minute cross from Fernandes to mark his debut with a goal.
However, he was replaced eight minutes after the break by Sebastian Guenzatti after apparently tweaking his hamstring, although coach Giovanni Savarese later played down potential fears that he had suffered an injury.
“It was a precautionary substitution,” the Cosmos head coach told Big Apple Soccer.
“We want to make sure we don’t push our players that we’re not going to have them for the season. We felt it was better for him to come out.
“It’s important for him to be ready for the next game, so we decided to pull him out.”
“He did a lot of great things,” Savarese added.
“He found the ball in good areas. He created some good situations going forward. He’s a player that has a lot of mobility and knows how to notice and find good situations.
“I felt he did very well for his first game. He’s very intelligent inside the field. He’s communicating with the guys, organising. He brings a lot of quality to our team.”
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