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By ESPN Staff

Raul left out of Spain squad for Euro 2008

MADRID, May 17 (Reuters) - Former captain and leading all-time scorer Raul and Barcelona teenager Bojan Krkic were left out of the Spain squad for Euro 2008 on Saturday.

The surprise inclusions in coach Luis Aragones' 23-man squad for the tournament in Austria and Switzerland were uncapped Villarreal midfielder Santi Cazorla and Real Zaragoza forward Sergio Garcia.

Raul has not played since the Euro 2008 qualifying defeat against Northern Ireland in September 2006, although his inclusion had been championed by the Madrid-based press.

The 30-year-old has recaptured his form at title-winning Real Madrid this season and is the club's top scorer with 18 goals, his best tally in seven years.

He is the country's leading scorer with 44 goals and with 102 caps has made more appearances than any other outfield player since making his debut as a 19-year-old in October 1996.

'It isn't a case of ending the debate over Raul. I focus on the players not the clubs. There are other players who have scored more goals (than Raul) per minutes played, and they aren't coming either,' Aragones told a news conference.

Krkic was likely to have been included but the 17-year-old Barca striker ruled himself out in an agreement with Aragones that he needed to rest.

'I spoke with Bojan and he told me he was physically and mentally tired and I trust him when he says he isn't in the best shape to come,' he added.

Villarreal's players were rewarded for an outstanding season, where they pipped Barcelona to second place in the Primera Liga for their highest ever finish, with places for Marcos Senna, Joan Capdevila and Cazorla.

In contrast, poor campaigns from Valencia and Espanyol cost the former's Joaquin and Fernando Morientes their places as well as the latter's Albert Riera, Luis Garcia and Raul Tamudo.

A stalwart of Euro 2008 qualification David Albelda missed out after former Valencia coach Ronald Koeman sidelined the experienced midfielder for four months.

Sevilla's Andres Palop wins the chance for his first cap as third-choice goalkeeper, as does Real Mallorca's Fernando Navarro in defence.

Spain's midfield is packed with talent which means the versatile Ruben de la Red and pacy winger Cazorla may struggle to make a starting line-up.

Up front, Liverpool's Fernando Torres and Valencia's David Villa are the obvious starting pair but Mallorca's Daniel Guiza earned his place as Spain's top scorer with 26 goals including a league record 19 away from home.

Sergio Garcia has won plaudits for his versatility going forward and, playing more on the right side of attack, is one of the few players to emerge from struggling Real Zaragoza this season with any credit.

Spain are in Group D alongside Russia, Sweden and Greece.


Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Liverpool), Andres Palop (Sevilla)

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Raul Albiol (Valencia), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Carlos Marchena (Valencia), Fernando Navarro (Real Mallorca), Alvaro Arbeloa (Liverpool), Juanito (Real Betis)

Midfielders: Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), David Silva (Valencia), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal), Xabi Alonso (Liverpool), Ruben de la Red (Getafe), Marcos Senna (Villarreal)

Forwards: David Villa (Valencia), Daniel Guiza (Real Mallorca), Sergio Garcia (Real Zaragoza), Fernando Torres (Liverpool)


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