Fabio Capello is trying to restore a sense of team spirit to the Real Madrid dressing room and has stated that “I'm very confident in Raúl's abilities. I'm sure he'll continue to be a leader and a champion just like he used to be. He might have been a bit down on himself last season, but it's just a matter of physchology. I know Raúl will be back to who he was. We spoke this morning and I told him I want him to lead this squad. We need people with heart and having Raúl as a leader is crucial.”
These words have been well received by the 29 year old Real Madrid captain who said” His words have made me very happy. I’m pleased, it gives me confidence, but I’ve been in the first team here for 13 years and I’ve demonstrated my commitment to every Manager. I’m going to work hard to win the trophies that we all want.”
It has been a disappointing few seasons at Madrid and last year Raul suffered more than most, missing much of the season through injury. Raul claims “Physically, The problem with my Knee is forgotten, I’m fine. All of us have suffered out on the pitch in the last few seasons. There have been a lot of changes. We have not had the stability that we want and now we must work in peace. That way we will all find good form and be able to give our best. Me, personally, I’m confident that I’ll be playing better”
Raul is one of only three players at the club who worked with Capello when he was there a decade ago; Raul says “He has a personality and a very clear way of working. Every team he has worked with has won titles, but we must be aware that we are going to have to work very hard. There are teams like Barcelona that have shown themselves to be better lately. We hope to enjoy ourselves again.”
Finishing second to Barcelona is hard for Real Madrid and it’s supporters to take. However, Raul feels that, with Capello in charge, things could be about to change;
“Whenever a new season starts there is always the hope that you can make a mark. It’s a different way of working. Everyone is really optimistic and giving it everything.
Everybody is calm and working in Harmony”
Raul is beleives that the politics off the field and the politics in the dressing room will need to be resolved .Raul says “3 years without winning any trophies is hard. Oh, how we need stability because this squad is a guaranteed to win a trophy”
If anybody can sort out the divisions in the Real Madrid dressing room, Raul believes it is his new manager; “Capello has made it clear. He is in charge and is looking for players to make us work as a team. Capello’s teams always have a big squad, with competition and rivalry”
It is the desire to build a team at Real Madrid that is behind Capello’s public appeal to Raul that it is crucial he acts as a leader at Real Madrid.
Many have interpreted this as a public show of support for Raul. It is not.
It is a challenge to the player that he must behave like true leader, a real team member. He must use his leadership skills to unite the dressing room and resolve the divisions that have been so disruptive to Real Madrid in recent years.
The disputes between Raul and Ronaldo, the split between the Brazilians and the Spanish in the dressing room have been well publicised. Capello is appealing to Raul to be a leader, to resolve those differences for the good of the team.
Raul says “Oh, how we need stability!” Capello is suggesting that’s up to him as much as anyone else. Raul needs to deliver.