Raul putting Real Madrid return on hold to focus on U.S. role

Spain legend Raul Gonzalez says a return to Real Madrid is on hold for the moment -- as he looks forward to the challenge of promoting all of La Liga's clubs in the U.S.

Raul came through the ranks at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and scored 323 goals in 741 games in 16 seasons as a Madrid player, a record only recently beaten by the team's current superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

In 2010 he surprisingly left for Schalke amid a reported breakdown in his relationship with club president Florentino Perez, and subsequently spent two years at Qatari club Al-Sadd before helping the New York Cosmos win the 2015 Soccer Bowl during a final playing season in the NASL.

The Madrid native has long been linked with a return to the Bernabeu, either as a coach or even as part of a candidacy to challenge increasingly unpopular Perez for the club's presidency.

But he has instead accepted an offer from La Liga president Javier Tebas to work as a Country Manager in the United States -- a promotional job which involves helping to keep growing La Liga's international revenues.

Asked by reporters at the presentation ceremony in Miami about his ambitions relating to Madrid, the 38-year-old said that "right now" he was focusing on his promotional work for all La Liga's clubs.

"I do not see myself returning to Real Madrid as a coach or the president at the moment," Raul said. "In the future maybe, but right now I'm very involved with my family and in a professional level in this project. I wish all the best to Real Madrid, but now my head and my work is for all the teams from La Liga."

Raul said it would have been "the easiest thing" to move into coaching at this point, but that his new role was an "exciting challenge" he was looking forward to.

"The easiest thing would have been to coach but this challenge is very important, I join one of the best brands in the world and I think I'm going to be enriched with the experience," he said.

"I'm happy to be part of the brand La Liga, my league for many years, and to participate in this project full of exciting challenges. My retirement from football has been gradual and my dream was to live in New York.

"La Liga has given me this opportunity and I want to bring my experience to make this league the best in the world."