Raul named best in Spain

Daily Spanish sports newspaper Marca on Monday awarded Real Madrid captain Raul Gonzalez, the club's top scorer this season with 18 goals, its Di Stefano prize for best player of the year.

The prize is named after Real Madrid's iconic former striker Alfredo di Stefano who announced the winner of the trophy at a ceremony in Madrid.

"He had a good campaign and he deserves it," the 81-year-old said.

Raul's 18 goals helped Real Madrid clinch its second straight league title and is the 31-year-old's best league tally in seven years.

Spain coach Luis Aragones on Saturday left Raul out of his 23-man squad for UEFA EURO 2008 as had been widely expected despite pressure to recall the player.

Raul is the country's leading scorer with 44 goals in 102 international matches but he has not played for Spain since a 3-2 qualifying loss at Northern Ireland in September 2006.

A two-time European Player of the Year, Argentinian-born Di Stefano scored a total of 418 goals in 510 games in all tournaments for Real Madrid.