Real Madrid’s legendary captain Raul has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Last weekend against Real Zaragoza the No. 7 hero played his last match of the 2009/10 season. Perhaps he was even playing his last game of his entire career for the Spanish giants.
Last Saturday Raul became La Liga’s all time third highest goal scorer following his strike that inspired the Spanish giants to yet another vital win.
This better not be Real Madrid's last victory in the campaign, or their title ambitions will experience a sudden death. But his ankle, which suffered a Grade II sydnemosis sprain according to clinical examinations, forced him to sit out the rest of the game.
Now that it is over for Captain Raul, is it over for Read Madrid? Surely, they will sorely miss their veteran’s inspirational presence on and off the pitch. Or will Florentino Perez’s new Galacticos instead respond?
"Raul must help us become the champions," Jorge Valdano said last weekend.
But as there is no chance for Raul's return for the rest of the season, Los Blancos will have to accomplish their mission of winning La Liga title on their own. Raul poured out his last efforts on match-day 34 when he scored through pain to get his team into the lead at La Romareda.
Perhaps Real Madrid will be capable of going all the way without their star player. Despite the absence of Raul, they have managed to clinch all three points after Colunga had cancelled the game's opening goal.
After 16 years, Raul has one more year left in his contract. However, he has been relegated to the bench following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and the emergence of Gonzalo Higuain. This makes pundits believe that the 228-goal record holder won’t pursue his career in Madrid for much longer. Besides, the MLS and the EPL are reportedly showing interest.
Real Madrid’s result at home against Osasuna this weekend might prove whether or not Los Blancos are feeling the blow caused by Raul’s absence for the rest of the season. The public has yet to find out if this issue will have a negative effect on Real Madrid’s fate in La Liga or if it is actually a blessing in disguise.
What is certain, however, is that Raul’s absence and prospective permanent departure from Real Madrid as a player will definitely change the team—for the better or for the worse.
In terms of squad selection, Manuel Pellegrini should not have too many worries as Raul has not played regular football since August 2009. Karim Benzema might be given the chance to step out from the shadows of a disappointing first season thus far in Madrid.
What’s next for this new generation of Galacticos?