Liverpool link puts Raul future in spotlight

Updated: 2007-01-15 06:33

MADRID: Real Madrid captain Raul Gonzalez could move to English Premiership side Liverpool in the summer, according to Spanish sports daily AS on Saturday.

The publication speculated on its front page that the friendship between Raul and Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez, who was a Real youth coach during Raul's formative teenage years, could be the catalyst for the player to leave.

He was also a regular visitor to Anfield during the last two seasons when his friend and fellow Spanish international Fernando Morientes was a player there.

Raul's agent Gines Carvajal also said on Spanish radio on Friday that if Madrid were to allow other clubs to negotiate with Raul, "he would be able to play without any problems in England."

The story caused immediate ripples in the Spanish capital, especially as the 29-year-old player has been with Real for his entire career after making his first team debut as a 17 year-old.

"When there are defeats there are always many rumours but the only thing I am concerned about is the club," Raul told Real Madrid TV on Saturday. "I am very happy and content and I will carry on working as I have always done with the hope of finishing here."

But Real coach Fabio Capello is in the midst of making some extensive changes at the Spanish giants, including the likely departure of Brazilian striker Ronaldo.

AFP

(China Daily 01/15/2007 page12)