Raul vows to overcome injury setback for club and country

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The Independent Football

The Real Madrid and Spain captain Raul is hopeful he canrecover from a serious knee injury in time to help his club win a trophy this season and lead his country at next year's World Cup.

Real's medical team say they intend to follow a "conservative" programme of treatment to deal with a partially torn cruciate ligament and cartilage damage in Raul's left knee.

"There was a moment in which I thought I would be out for a very long time," the striker said yesterday. "That still may happen, but the probability is that I will be back in a much shorter period.

"At the moment there are no dates set, but it might take three or four months to see how the knee responds, but I can see myself helping Real win a trophy and then playing in the World Cup."

Raul sustained the injury when he miscued a shot during his side's 3-0 defeat to Barcelona at the Bernabeu on Saturday. The striker, who was scheduled to make his 100th appearance in the Champions' League against Lyon tonight, said he was now keen to get on with his recovery programme.

"With hard work and sacrifice I can get over these injuries and I will be working every day to ensure that I get back as soon as possible. Surgery has been ruled out for the moment and I will be aiming to recover by the traditional method."

The 28-year-old international, whose wife gave birth to twins last week, said he was trying not to be downcast over the most serious injury of his career.

"You have to take the positives out of an experience like this," he said. "I will have more time to spend with my children for example and I'm confident I'll be back in three or four months. I have received lots of messages of support and although I felt bad yesterday morning they have helped to pick me up."

Alfonso del Corral, Real's club doctor, said: "Fortunately we believe that he won't need to undergo surgery. We've consulted with specialists to evaluate the situation and believe that the player can recover without an operation. We will try and strengthen the muscles around the knee and reduce the inflammation and pain."