The Atletico Madrid midfielder – who represented France in his youth before switching his allegiance in 2018 – is lining up for the side in their AFCON 2023 qualifiers, but the coach insisted it hasn’t taken anything “sensational” to get his star player back in the team for the first time in almost two years.
Raoul told World Soccer magazine: “That is not the point because, for me, it’s always about the squad – I speak always about the team first.
“But we were always in contact.
“His absence was just a story of life, nothing sensational.
“He called me to say, ‘I’m available’. And I said, ‘OK, that’s nice.’
“That was it. It was only two sentences. Nothing more.”
But the manager acknowledged having the player back in international action when Central African Republic beat Madagascar home and away was a great boost to the whole team.
He said: “Yeah, when you have a good player like that in the team, then the other ones become better as well.
“And the confidence boost… that goes without saying.”
The Central African Republic don’t have a suitable home stadium to play in, and the manager admitted it is a “painful” situation.
He said: “It’s not easy but this country has not been able to host any international games for the last 10 years. First there was a war here and then after that the failure of the stadia to pass inspection by the Confederation of African Football.
“So, it’s not like we are not used to it, it has been the reality for the team for some time now.
“We have no option, we are obligated to play away.
“But for us, it’s painful, of course, because we want to play away.”