Spain coach Aragones and Raul deny rift

February 22nd, 2008 - 2:04 pm ICT by admin  

Madrid, Feb 22 (DPA) Spain coach Luis Aragones and Real Madrid captain Raul Gonzalez appeared together at a news conference Thursday to deny there was any ill-feeling between them. But Aragones failed to say whether there would be a recall for the striker in time for the European Championships in June.

“He has the same chance as the other 40 players we’re watching,” Aragones said.

“It’s going to be tough for him and for all the other 40 players, and it’s not a question of whether he can play as a substitute for me because he has done so before.

“I’m not friends with any of the players, I’m their coach. If I think he’s right to be in (the squad), he’ll be in.”

Raul last played for Spain in their 2-3 defeat to Northern Ireland Sep 29 but has been ignored by Aragones since then despite being on scoring form this season with 11 goals in 24 games for Real.

The news conference was held at the request of Raul to end speculation in the Spanish media over the player’s exclusion.

Raul said there was no ill feeling between the pair, and urged fans and media to get behind the national team for Euro 2008.

Despite successfully qualifying for Euro 2008 without Raul, Aragones has been criticized by fans and media for ignoring the 30-year-old striker, who is Spain’s leading all-time scorer with 44 goals.

“For the good of the team, the Spanish federation, for the coach and for Raul, all speculation and debates must stop,” said Aragones.

“Raul has behaved exceptionally towards me, and I hope I have been the same towards him. There have never been any problems between us, I keep saying that. I just have not felt he has been in the right condition to receive a call-up,” he said.

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