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Raul realistic about recovering form before World Cup

Written by: Staff
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MADRID, Mar 28 (Reuters) Spain striker Raul is unconcerned by his lack of first-team action with Real Madrid as he struggles to rediscover his form in time for the World Cup.

''I have to be realistic and make the most of the minutes I get. I feel good in training and during games,'' the Spain captain was quoted as saying in sports daily AS today.

''All I can do is try to arrive at the finals in the best condition I can, to lend a hand at the very least.'' Raul, 28, returned to action with Real in mid-February after missing three months with a partial tear of the cruciate ligament and damaging the cartilage in his left knee.

Club doctors opted to follow a ''conservative'' programme of treatment to deal with the injury rather than surgery in the hope that the player would make a more rapid recovery.

But he has yet to score a goal or play a full game since returning against Alaves in the Primera Liga.

He has only started twice in the league, against Valencia and Real Betis, and once in the Champions League in the 0-0 draw away to Arsenal earlier in the month, that put Real out of the competition.

Raul added: ''I am pleased with my progress although it is obvious everyone would like to play more.

''The important thing to remember is that four months ago I suffered an injury and no one knew if I would be able to play another game this season.'' Raul has won 92 caps for Spain, a record for an outfield player, scoring 42 goals.

Spain have been drawn in Group H in the World Cup finals, which begin on June 9, with Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

REUTERS DH BST1632

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