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Raul double cheers Ramos's Real

Thursday, December 11, 2008 , Posted by Linda at 10:06 AM

MADRID (AFP) – Juande Ramos may be wielding a new broom at Real Madrid but it was one of the old guard who starred as the nine-times champions saw off Zenit St Petersburg in their final Champions League Group H game on Wednesday.

Veteran forward and three-time champion Raul bagged a brace to sandwich a goal by Arjen Robben in a 3-0 win over the outclassed Russians and cement the runners-up spot behind Juventus.

Raul double cheers Ramos's Real AFP – Real Madrid's Raul Gonzalez celebrates scoring against Zenith San Petersburg during their Champions

Raul's goals made him the competition's all-time top scorer with 66 goals ahead of AC Milan's Filippo Inzaghi and gave a fillip to a side whose confidence has been sagging in recent weeks.

Ramos, taking charge of the Bernabeu bench for the first time since replacing the sacked Bernd Schuster the previous day, made one change from the side which lost 4-3 to his old club Sevilla at the weekend by putting former Liverpool hero Jerzy Dudek in goal in place of Iker Casillas.

The man sacked by Tottenham in October then sat back to allow the rest of the side to show what they are made of.

"It's a good result, which boosts team morale. I really liked the players' attitude," said Ramos.

Sporting director Pedja Mijatovic, the power behind the Bernabeu throne, noted that "now we are a little calmer. We saw something different with the change of coach."

Real had already qualified along with group rivals Juventus - who got the better of them in both their autumn meetings - ahead of Wednesday's game.

But the team had a point to prove after Schuster was shown the door following their weekend loss to Sevilla which left the club fifth in La Liga, nine points adrift of Barcelona.

Schuster's year in charge ended after he caused an outcry by saying Real could not hope to beat Barca at the Nou Camp next weekend.

Ramos's defensive namesake Sergio Ramos meanwhile insisted he did not share Schuster's pessimism.

"Tonight we controlled the ball well and kept a clean sheet - we can win at the Nou Camp," he told Canal Plus Espagne.

Raul notched the opener on 24 minutes, firing past keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev from the edge of the six-yard box following a Rafael van der Vaart cross.

Five minutes after the restart Raul instigated a fine move as he sent Arjen Robben away to make it 2-0.

And in the 58th minute Robben repaid the compliment with the pass from which Raul, long since discarded by the Spanish national side, made it 3-0. Two minutes later, the crowd were on their feet to salute Raul as he gave way to Javier Saviola.

According to persistent media reports Ramos wants to prise away playmaker Andrei Arshavin from Zenit in the January transfer window but on this evidence the man he also wanted at White Hart Lane would not necessarily add to the mix.

However, the Russian could still provide some fresh impetus given Real's current injury crisis.

Arshavin earlier told British daily The Sun: 'I can confirm that officials from Zenit have begun preliminary negotiations with Real Madrid about my transfer."

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