Raul left out of Spain squad
Real Madrid's in-form forward Raul has been left out of Spain coach Luis Aragones' squad for UEFA EURO 2008, which will begin on 7 June. Raul, his country's all-time leading scorer with 44 goals and currently the third-leading marksman in La Liga this season, has not been named in the Spanish side since September 2006 and his omission from the squad for the continental finals had been widely predicted.
Also accurately reported was the inclusion of uncapped Real Zaragoza striker Sergio Garcia, especially after the withdrawal of Barcelona teenager Bojan Krkic. Garcia makes the squad on the back of some strong individual performances for his team, who are currently 18th in La Liga. He has, however, scored only four goals this camapign compared to Raul's 18 for 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, while Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop pipped Barcelona rival Victor Valdes for the likely role of third-choice goalkeeper behind Iker Casillas and Jose Manuel Reina.
Spain squad for EURO 2008
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)