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Are you pleased with the season so far? You’ve scored 14 League goals in 23 matches.
RAUL: I’m satisfiedbut I always think I can do better. You have to believe that you can always do better.

So what would be an ideal goal tally in June?
At the end of the season, I hope to have scored at least 20.

You were criticised for your mediocre start to the season?
You think so? I don’t agree! Don’t forget that I was injured, I had to regain my momentum and that always takes time and hard work.

So you must be pleased that you recently became the highest goalscorer currently active in the Spanish League (113 goals)?
Of course, I’m very happy. My target now is to finish my career as the all-time top scorer.

Are the current Real Madrid side better than the Real side of Di Stefano? Is it a challenge to live up to that history?
Well, there is a lot of history surrounding the club which is pretty impressive. I’m always aware of that. There have been some great times for this club and I hope to be part of a future generation which emulates their achievements.

Do you prefer playing in attack or in midfield?
I like both. I like scoring goals and creating them for others. But it’s important to feel comfortable playing alongside others in the team.

Did you have to change the way you play when Luis Figo arrived?
Not at all. Figo has made everything easier. He’s a great player and everyone has benefited from playing with him. He was the type of player Real needed to play on the right. Sure, he cost a lot of money, but there’s a lot of money in football these days and he’s been worth it.

What has (Real coach) Vicente Del Bosque done to bring about the improvement?
Real needed a man who could just train the players. He knows the club very well and is a good motivator who has got the best from each player. He takes an interest in each and every player, and wants to know how we are all getting on.

Which are the best teams in Europe at the moment, and which players do you most admire?
Real, Lazio, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, where Mehmet Scholl is a player I like alot. All players are different, but Totti, the Roma forward, is a great player, and I have always admired Del Piero.

Has the national side been affected by the influx of foreigners into Spanish football?
Not really. Figo, Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Aimar, Palermo?foreign players have contributed a lot to Spanish football. It doesn’t matter what nationality they are – Spanish, Italian, Russian, African, whatever.

What will you do when you stop playing?
I want to stay in football, it’s my passion, it’s what I do best. But I haven’t thought about it at any great length.

*This is an extract from an exclusive World Soccer interview with Raul. The full interview is available in the April 2001 issue of World Soccer.

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