Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Backing Cannavaro

"No one can question how fine a player

and person he is"

Following Monday's training session, Raúl admitted to having voted for Cannavaro as the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year. "He's a teammate and you can't question his talent," stated the Madridista captain, who also mentioned the important win against Espanyol. "We weren't in the running for the League at this point of the season in previous years."

Who did you vote for FIFA World Player of the Year?

Cannavaro, Eto'o, and Henry. I don't know where it came out that I had voted for Zidane. I voted for the three I just named. How can it not be fair if it is based on a vote? The national team coaches and captains got to vote. It can't be any fairer than that.

Many questioned the Golden Ball going to Cannavaro and now he is up for FIFA World Player of the Year.

No one can question how fine a footballer Cannavaro is. He had a great World Cup and has played his heart out for Juventus and Real Madrid. He's the right choice and I am happy for him. He's a great teammate. It looks like Zidane will come in second.

You're traveling to Zurich as captain of the Spanish national team. Do you hope to make your way back onto the team soon?

I want to finish Wednesday off with a win and I have set a lot of goals for next year. I'll go if the coach calls on me. If not, I'll still support them.

Real Madrid took three important points in Barcelona.

Yesterday was a very important win. It's a shame [Cannavaro] was sent off. The team was playing well and we wouldn't have suffered so much. We stood our ground in defence and even had some scoring opportunities.

Are there really only three teams in the hunt for the League title?

It looks like these three teams are the strongest, but there are still five months of competition left. We weren't in the running for the title at this point of the season in previous years, but now we are.

Who do you think is stronger, Barcelona or Sevilla?

They are both having solid seasons. But I have to point out teams moving up like Atletico Madrid and Valencia. We are pleased with where we sit right now.

Do you think losing the Club World Cup will affect Barcelona?

Traveling is a once in a lifetime chance. They knew how to take advantage of the experience and lost the match.

You'll be alongside Luis Aragonés in Zurich.

I am sure we will both take the stage. We will speak like civilized people. These things happen. I want to return to the national team and have been working hard. I haven't seen him since Ireland. We are both normal people. We will speak about football and congratulate each other.

Are you in favour of using replay to avoid send offs like Cannavaro's?

Football is best left untouched.

What are your thoughts on the Club going after young players?

I've seen what's available in the market and signing players with promising futures is always good. Everyone has said they are in top form. The youth system players will also get their chance. The coach is counting on them and they train with us almost every day.

Is Gago needed?

That's a technical question for the Sporting Directors. We can win titles with what we have now, but we will welcome any new players.

What does Cannavaro have that won him the Golden Ball and FIFA World Player of the Year?

Cannavaro has personality and character. He is a great team player and his vibes reverberate throughout the whole dressing room. He already proved it with Italy. He is a strong defender who knows how to anticipate what's coming. He's got great defending skills and is always willing to make a tackle whether he is niggled or not. Ronaldinho's scissor kick was spectacular. Football is based on teammwork, and sometimes there are players whose work is more obscure and unseen by the common spectator.

courtesy of realmadrid.com

we're thrilled that raul is actually rooting for his teammates and we love what he's said in this interview. he's a living legend yet he's so humble.

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