Spain manager Vicente del Bosque's early reign with the Furia Roja has been colored by controversy over the status of Real Madrid skipper Raúl.

The forward was unceremoniously dumped from the national team squad by del Bosque's predecessor, Luis Aragonés, and he has yet to find a way back in.

This has led to speculation that del Bosque, who once coached Raúl at the Bernabeu, has written Raúl out of his plans. The man himself, though, denies this.

"I can hardly put down a barrier and say Raúl will not return to the squad," he told the press. "There is no magic formula to the case of Raúl because he's going to keep on playing for Real Madrid. We'll see if there is then a chance that we'll bring him back in, so it's neither closed nor open."

Still, the veteran faces competition from Athletic Bilbao hotshot Fernando Llorente, who was recently given his first-ever call-up.

"I've not decided, but there is a chance that Fernando Llorente will take part," said del Bosque of his next squad.

Almería's Álvaro Negredo and Joseba Llorente of Villarreal were also mentioned as options.

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