Real Madrid captain Fernando Hierro believes that his team-mate Raul should win this year’s European Footballer of the Year award.

“I would give it to Raul, I’ve been saying it for a long time,” said the veteran defender.

“Nobody deserves it like him, despite the number of great players we have, such as Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Figo or Zidane.”

The favourite to win this year’s award is Brazilian striker Ronaldo, who bounced back from long-term injury problems to become the leading scorer at the World Cup finals. Other contenders include Bayern Munich midfielder Michaell Balack, Arsenal striker Thierry Henry and Real Madrid duo Roberto Carlos and Zinedine Zidane.