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Raul says happy to start on bench

Written by: Staff

LEIPZIG, June 13: Spain captain Raul says he does not feel let down about being relegated to the bench for his side's opening World Cup match against Ukraine.

''I'm not hurt by being a substitute,'' the Real Madrid striker told a news conference today.

''All 23 players in the squad want to play, but the coach (Luis Aragones) has chosen 11 for the first game and there will be opportunities for all of us.

''Although I talk to him every day, he hasn't said anything special to me. I'm just another member of the squad and he doesn't have to give me any special explanations. I may not be in the starting 11, but that's not important.'' The 28-year-old trained with the substitutes for the fourth day running and looks almost certain to start on the bench with Fernando Torres, David Villa and Luis Garcia comprising the three-man attack.

Torres has struck 10 times in 30 international appearances, while Villa was the top-scoring Spaniard in the Primera Liga this season with 25 goals.

Raul has scored 43 goals in 95 international appearances, but has failed to recapture his form since a three-month lay-off because of a serious knee injury.

The striker tried to deflect attention to the rest of the team as he was bombarded by questions from the Spanish media about his position as substitute.

''I'd like to talk about the rest of the team as Spain play tomorrow.

''The team has worked very hard and we are keen to get started.

In principle I'm not going to start, but I'm ready to start and do my bit to help. We've had a very positive preparation and we all just want to get started now.''


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