Agent claims Raul could leave Madrid in 2011
The agent of Real Madrid legend Raul has told Soccernet that a move away from the Bernabeu could be a possibility for the forward at the end of next season.
Raul is the Spanish club's all-time record goalscorer but, at 32 years of age, he no longer commands a regular place for Los Merengues and has started only six Primera Liga games under Manuel Pellegrini this season.
Raul, and his long-term team-mate Guti, exercise considerable control over the Madrid dressing room but for the first time the forward is no longer considered a first choice by the club with expensive recruits like Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in the squad.
While Raul will not break his current contract which runs until the summer of 2011, his agent, Gines Carvajal, admits that the player could be open to the possibility of a move to the Premier League in 18 months time.
"Raul has a contract until 2011 and so for the moment he is only thinking about respecting the contract," Carvajal told Soccernet. "But the season is very long and we are going to see.
"Always there are options and tomorrow who knows what is going to happen? It is not a secret that he has always liked the Premier League, but also there are other options like Qatar or the United States. Raul has five children and there are a lot of factors to consider."
Raul joined Real from the Atletico Madrid youth setup in the 1992-93 season and became the youngest player to represent the club when making his debut aged just 17 in 1994. He is a living legend at the Bernabeu but was targeted by Chelsea following Roman Abramovich's arrival in 2003.
Chelsea were denied though as Raul turned down what would have been a world record £71.4 million deal as Claudio Ranieri embarked on the most ambitious transfer spree in British football history.
"Many English clubs asked in the past for Raul, but the only formal proposal was the one of Chelsea," Carvajal said. "Ranieri wanted [Claude] Makelele and Raul. So the same people of Chelsea who negotiated for Makelele made contact with me and Madrid.
"They offered €100 million, but Raul didn't consider the offer because he just didn't think of leaving Madrid. I believe that generally clubs know that Raul is the captain of Madrid and, as it happens with players as [Ryan] Giggs, they know that there are not many options for them to change clubs."
While Raul's long-term future at Real appears to be somewhat in doubt, his agent is keen to stress that the player has not fallen out with coach Pellegrini, who has been tasked with bringing through a new generation of galacticos at the Bernabeu.
"With Pellegrini there is no problem," Carvajal said. "Much respect exists between them and there is dialogue. The obsession of Raul is to return to be important with Real Madrid. By his nature he is not the kind of player who is comfortable with being on the bench. He accepts this new situation but hopes his opportunity to play and to show his level comes."