Madrid: Real Madrid were granting Alex Ferguson’s wishes, as well as following doctor’s orders, by sending Raul for emergency surgery that will keep him out of Wednesday’s Champions League game against Manchester United.
The United manager hailed Raul as the world’s best player after his two goals led Real to a 3-1 victory in the quarter final first leg in Madrid two weeks ago.
Raul also scored twice in Real’s 3-2 win over the English side in the Champions League in 2000 and Ferguson said he hoped the player would be stopped at the border.
“I hope he doesn’t like travelling,” Ferguson said. “Failing that we will stop him entering the country.”
In the end, a case of acute appendicitis meant the English side did not have to rely on a compliant customs official to rule out Raul.
Real Madrid were just happy to oblige, according to their director Jorge Valdano.
“Ferguson didn’t want Raul coming to England but we went a bit further and stopped him leaving Spain,” Valdano joked. “His comments have turned out to be a bit of a jinx, it’s true.
“Seriously, though, all we can do is lament the timing of the injury and put all our faith in the squad.”