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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Raul calls for more respect at Real

MADRID, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Real Madrid captain Raul has called for the club to behave in a more serious and respectful manner following the incendiary comments made by president Ramon Calderon about the players earlier this week.

'The president is the president and can say what he wants, but what he said upset many people and was not a wise thing to do,' Raul told a news conference on Friday.

'A club with the history and tradition of Real Madrid needs to behave differently. The image that has been given in recent weeks isn't the right one. Mutual respect needs to be shown by everyone.'

Calderon told a student conference on Tuesday that Real Madrid players were vain and self-centred, that midfielder Guti had never fulfilled his promise and he described David Beckham as 'half a film star' who was not wanted by any other clubs.

Raul confirmed Calderon had apologised to the squad in a clear-the-air meeting on Wednesday and said the players had raised their concerns over the personal situations of Beckham, Ronaldo and Antonio Cassano who have been marginalised by club coach Fabio Capello.

'Beckham and Ronaldo have proved that they are great professionals and that they will give everything for this shirt. We asked the club to talk to these players personally because it is important to sort out the problems now and they said they would do that,' he said.

'It was a positive meeting that we hope will prove to be a turning point.'

He added that he believed Capello might review his decision about sidelining the former England captain, but stressed the players were not trying to interfere in technical decisions.

Raul made it clear that the players were unhappy with the way the club had behaved and was particularly critical of the fact they had leaked stories to the Spanish media about players arriving for training smelling of alcohol.

'The club hasn't dealt with this matter properly and has left doubts about the professionalism of the players,' he said.

'We the players are the first ones concerned about winning something. We want to work hard to win the league and the Champions League. Our message is that the club needs a period of tranquility and stability.'