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Raul fails to make Spain squad for Euro 2008 – (SN)

SoccerNews in European Championships, La Liga 17 May 2008

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On-form Real Madrid striker Raul has not been handed a recall to Spanish colours after he was omitted from the 23-man squad Spain coach Luis Aragones named on Saturday for Euro 2008 in June.

Raul, Spain's top scorer with 44 international goals and currently third in La Liga goal-scoring charts this season, has not been named in the Spanish side since September 2006 and his probable omission from the Euro squad had been widely predicted.

Also accurately reported was his replacement by uncapped Real Zaragoza striker Sergio Garcia, especially after the withdrawal of Barcelona teenager Bojan Krkic.

“I talked to (Bojan) and he told me that he did not feel at his best physically and mentally,” said Aragones.

Garcia makes the squad on the back of some strong individual performances for his team, which are currently lying 18th in La Liga.

But he has scored only four goals so far this season compared to Raul's 18 for Spanish champions Real Madrid.

Aragones defended his decision to pick Garcia and omit Raul, saying: “There's a debate because he (Raul) is a player in the media's eye. But the clubs have no influence over the choice of a player. I focus on the players, not the position of the team in the league.

“There are many other players who, when you look at the number of minutes played, have scored more than Raul and they haven't made the squad either.”

The main surprise in Aragones' squad is the inclusion of Villarreal's attacking midfielder Santiago Cazorla.

Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop pipped Barcelona rival Victor Valdes for the likely role of number three keeper after Iker Casillas and Jose Manuel Reina for the June 7-29 tournament, which is being co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Manuel Reina (Liverpool/ENG), Andres Palop (Sevilla)

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Juanito (Real Betis), Alvaro Arbeloa (Liverpool/ENG), Fernando Navarro (Real Mallorca), Raul Albiol (Valencia), Carlos Marchena (Valencia), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal)

Midfielders: Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal/ENG), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), David Silva (Valencia), Santiago Cazorla (Villarreal), Ruben de La Red (Getafe), Xabi Alonso (Liverpool/ENG), Marcos Senna (Villarreal)

Strikers: David Villa (Valencia), Sergio Garcia (Real Zaragoza), Fernando Torres (Liverpool/ENG), Daniel Guiza (Real Mallorca)

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