Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Second Coming of Raul

One of the most talked about players in the last few weeks for both Real Madrid and the Spanish national team has been none other than team captain Raul. These talks were increased after his two goal performance against Racing Santander last weekend. Raul seems to have gotten his second wind career wise and is scoring goals left and right. He currently sits atop the Pichichi race, which is the award given to the player with the most goals in La Liga. He has performed so well that Spain's coach, Luis Aragones, has had to go back on his words that Raul would never play for Spain again. Raul has not been recalled yet but Aragones has said that if his form continues he will find a spot on the national team.

Much of Raul's success in this campaign can be attributed to the fact that Bernd Schuster has moved him back to the postion where he feels most comfortable. Schuster has moved him closer to the goal, whereas Capello had him playing out wide where he became wholly ineffective. Also, he and Rudd Van Nistelroy seem to have a great understanding of one another and play very well together.

While this run of form has been fantastic for Raul and the team, there are some negative effects to this. Madrid have a plethora of talented strikers who have not had a chance to play due to Raul. As of right now no one can argue that Raul doesn't deserve to be starting. However, one can only hope that Schuster keeps a careful eye on Raul because he does have a tendency to disappear from games. This is completely understandable considering his age, but it would be unfair for the other players and the team if Schuster didn't bring in a dangerous striker (which he has in Baptista, Higuain and Soldado) simply because he has Raul.

Raul is a very interesting player because it seems that whenever he is backed into a wall he comes out and does so looking like a hero. Last year when Madrid were struggling, Capello made him an automatic starter despite criticisms from fans. Raul silenced those critics by finding the back of the net and it is no coincidence that Madrid's resurgence came at the same time as Raul's. Now Aragones has kicked him out of the Spain squad and once again Raul has come back and proved his critics wrong.

Will Raul continue this current form he finds himself in? No one knows for sure but for now let's all enjoy watching the hardest working player on Real Madrid reap some of the benefits of his hard work.

No comments: