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By ESPN Staff

Raul not considering hanging up his boots

Real Madrid captain Raul admits he has a fight on his hands to remain among the starters at the Bernabeu, but insists he will not consider retiring for "at least three more years".

The 31-year-old has not featured as heavily for the club at the start of this season as in previous years, with young Argentinian forward Gonzalo Higuain pushing for Raul's place in the side.

But despite falling from favour at his club and being perpetually left out of the Spanish national side, Raul insists he is not yet thinking about calling it a day.

"That day remains some time away yet," he told Radio Marca. "I want to play at least three more years in Madrid, which is what I have on my contract, and from then on I will go year by year and see how things go and what's best for the club.

"But now, I am just taking things day by day, though it will become more usual to see me on the bench during games.

"I have spent 14 years in football, playing many games. We're all there to help the team, sometimes coming off the bench, other times as a starter. There will be no problems."

The all-time top scorer for Spain also admitted it will be difficult for him to force his way into Vicente del Bosque's plans for the national side.

Del Bosque announced on Wednesday that his squad is not an exclusive club and that he will look to reward form players on a match by match basis.

But Raul knows his chances of a comeback are slim, and admitted a return to La Roja would be "like making a debut".

"Right now I have to be realistic and I'm a long way out of the side," he said.

"I don't need to give up though and if the chance comes to wear the Spain shirt again it'll be like a dream, a prize. It'll be like making a debut."

Forcing his way into the Spain side is all the more difficult given the presence of Fernando Torres and David Villa in Raul's position up front.

The latter of the two was linked with a move to Madrid in the summer, but a deal for the forward fell through when Valencia offering him an improved deal.

There were suggestions Raul had discouraged the club from pursuing Villa's signing, rumours Raul strongly denies.

He said: "I'm Real Madrid captain, and I have the power I should have as captain and a player, but I don't decide who comes here nor do they (the directors) ask me what I think.

"If Villa had come I would have loved having him as a team-mate because he is a forward who scores plenty of goals and one of the best in Europe."

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