Spanish and former Real Madrid striker has been confirmed as the newest signing at the New York Cosmos, but how does his playing career and stats compare to fellow New York soccer signings Frank Lampard and David Villa?
Although signing prominent (yet past their prime) players is not necessarily a new concept for soccer stateside, as Major League Soccer clubs have managed to secure the signatures of players such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and Robbie Keane, the three newest stars set to arrive in America are equally as important to growing the sport here.
While Raul is the oldest of the incoming trio (and certainly the one who’s furthest from their prime playing ability), Lampard and Villa still have a significant amount of gas left in the tank. Lampard, currently on loan at Manchester City, has been outstanding during his loan spell with the Citizens. The former Chelsea superstar has scored four goals in six total matches so far for Manchester City and was even voted as the team’s Player of the Month during the month of September.
Villa, who like Lampard signed with newly created New York City FC over the summer, has also impressed while on loan with Melbourne City FC in the A-League. The 32-year-old Villa has scored two goals in two matches down under so far with Melbourne. The Spaniard is coming off of a successful season with Atletico Madrid, in which he tallied 15 total goals on the season.
Raul, on the other hand, is a former Real Madrid legend. The 37-year-old former Spain international played 16 seasons for Los Blancos, scoring an astounding 323 total goals in the process. After leaving Madrid, Raul transferred to the German club Schalke for two seasons, before spending the last two years playing professionally in Qatar.
Let’s take a look at how the careers of Lampard, Raul, and Villa compare to each other:
There is no doubt that both MLS and NASL are doing their best to attract attention from soccer stars around the world. However, this should only be the tip of the iceberg as far as evaluating and securing talent in these leagues. Most analysts and pundits will say that if soccer is going to take the giant leap and go against other leagues in America head on, such as the MLB, NBA, and NFL, then the teams in the MLS and NASL are going need more stars (both established foreign players and homegrown talent as well). It will be interesting to see who the next crop of stars will be to join the soccer movement here in America.
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