Hayley Raso in brutal development as Matildas hero cops crushing blow ahead of Paris Olympics

The Matildas favourite has endured a rollercoaster season with her club ahead of the Olympics.

Matildas favourite Hayley Raso has announced she is leaving Real Madrid at the end of the season having struggled to break into the first team. Raso made history becoming the first Australian football player to sign with the Spanish outfit.

She enjoyed a great start to her career in the Spanish capital having scored just eight minutes into her debut when she came off the bench back in October. Despite being named alongside Sam Kerr in the women's Ballon d'Or list last year, Raso has failed to nail down a starting position.

Matildas Hayley Raso (pictured) has announced she is leaving ahead of the Paris Olympics. (Getty Images)
Matildas Hayley Raso (pictured) has announced she is leaving ahead of the Paris Olympics. (Getty Images)

And after reports suggested she might once again find herself on the fringe of the squad in the 2024/25 season, Raso announced she would be looking for more regular football at another club. Raso started eight of 19 league games for the club. She played 28 matches across all competitions, but only started 10.

Real Madrid were also in a tough situation as they were using the Aussie star as one of their allotted foreign players. Having been in and out of the starting line-up, it made sense for Raso to move on and find a team where she would make the starting XI.

Despite only one season at Real Madrid, Raso was full of praise to the club and her teammates when announcing her exit. "What an honour it’s been to wear the white shirt. Thank you @realmadrid, my teammates, the staff, the club and the fans that welcomed me with open arms,” Raso said on Platform X.

“I will continue to hold you all dear in my heart. This little Aussie girl could never have dreamed of this. In saying that, I have learnt in my career, that football doesn’t always work out the way we plan and due to the limit on foreign players in Spain, it’s time for a new adventure.

“The friendships I’ve made, I’ll carry with me for a lifetime. Muchas gracias por todo. Hala Madrid, siempre.” Raso's attention will be on the upcoming Paris Olympics, which will see the Matildas enter without key forward Sam Kerr.

Raso has been linked with Arsenal since reports Real Madrid would let the Aussie leave at the end of the season. She would link up with a number of Matildas stars playing in the Women's Super League if she were to make the move to England.

Raso will join the Matildas at the Paris Games, which will be her second appearance at an Olympics, having been announced in the Australian squad. The Aussies will be without key forward Kerr after the Matildas captain tore her ACL during a training camp with club team Chelsea in January.

The minimum recovery period for an ACL injury is usually nine months, however it can take up to 12 months before players get back on the field. With the Paris Olympics kicking off in late July and the football tournament taking place in August (eight months after the injury), there was a chain of thought that Kerr could still be picked in the Matildas' squad even if she wasn't at full fitness.

However, Kerr was left out of the squad announced at the beginning of June. Despite Kerr's absence, the Matildas will tackle a strong Olympics group that contains the USA, Germany and Zambia.

Hayley Raso watches on.
Hayley Raso (pictured) will leave Real Madrid after just one season.