MADRID, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Real Madrid wanted to loan out their long-serving captain Raul at the start of last season, according to former coach Fabio Capello.
'When I returned to take charge at Real Madrid in the 2006-07 season it appeared that the absolute priority was to loan out Raul,' the Italian wrote in his column in sports daily Marca on Sunday.
'Why? Because of his age and because his salary was seen to be too large in comparison to his performances on the pitch.'
'In the first meeting I had with the club president (Ramon Calderon) and the technical staff I expressed my doubts about what they told me and said that a 30-year-old player of his class and personality was vital for the team.
'But they told me he was a player in decline.'
Capello said that the striker's impressive return to form over the course of the team's championship-winning campaign proved that the club had been mistaken in their judgement of the player.
'In the end, the year we spent together was enough to confirm everything positive I had expected from him,' he said.
'Raul is an exceptional player... and he is proving that again this season, silencing the sceptics and critics.'
Raul, who has won three European Cups and five league titles in his 14 seasons in the Real first team, is the joint top scorer in the Primera Liga this season with eight goals.