Raúl González tells uefa.com why winning is not always enough for the European champions.
uefa.com: Do you think the Madrid squad is strong enough to compete in three fronts [Spanish league, Spanish cup and UEFA Champions League] or will you be giving priority to one trophy above the others?
Raúl González: I think the squad is strong enough to play in these competitions - we have about 25 first-teamers - but the hard part is winning them. This is the third season where we have had the chance of lifting five trophies [including the Super Cup and European/South American Cup]. Usually we've ended up winning one or two, but this time we will try for them all. Because of our tradition, Real Madrid want to win every available trophy - but with the great team we have assembled, and the money the club has spent bringing players here, we are also obliged to play good football. However, it is hard to win, not just for Madrid but for all teams. The gap in quality between clubs has reduced in recent years.
uefa.com: What has been the reaction within the Real Madrid dressing-room to the Ronaldo transfer saga?
RG: The worrying thing is when team-mates are quoted in the media and the way these rumours affect them and their work at the club. However, the players are working hard in training, and our main thought has always been the 30 August, the Super Cup. We want to get what will be a long season off to a winning start.
uefa.com: What is your opinion of the Ronaldo situation?
RG: As players, we don't know how or when these rumours start or how they are going to end. But we just want everything sorted out as soon as possible so that things will calm down. Ronaldo is a great player, and I would love to play with someone of his calibre, but I really don't know what the story is regarding his possible transfer. Obviously, though, he or any other new signing would be welcome here.
uefa.com: It is almost as if Madrid's recent success in the UEFA Champions League and tradition of attacking football has made them a magnet for the top players?
RG: For many players, it is a dream to come to Real Madrid, and in recent times a lot of players have chosen to come here from other big clubs. Obviously, they see the success that we have had, but that has not always been the case. While we have won the Champions League three times in five seasons, the club had to wait 22 years [between 1966 and 1998] for their seventh [UEFA] European Champion Clubs' Cup.
uefa.com: How difficult is it for a player to continue working in a professional manner when there is a question mark over his future at a club?
RG: You cannot work as you normally would, although you have to be professional, carry on working regardless, and just assume certain things. But it is difficult. The team are working well and looking forward to playing competitive matches. In fact, we can't wait for the season to start because the pre-season is actually harder than playing. We just want to get back to the normal routine.
uefa.com: Finally, what is your reaction to the announcement by the new Spanish national coach Iñaki Sáez that he wants Fernando Hierro to reconsider his decision to retire from international football?
RG: It is something the two of them have to discuss between themselves and look at the possibilities of his returning. Obviously that would be the best thing for Spanish football because Hierro is a great defender.