As the latest and possibly most controversial coach to manage the England football team, Fabio Capello is an Italian footballer-turned coach known for his huge art collection, love of opera and success with some of the best international teams in the world.
Capello the Footballer
Born in Gorizia, Italy in 1947, Capello followed his father and uncle’s footsteps, making his debut as a professional footballer at the age of seventeen with the Serie B club Societa Polisportiva Ars et Labor (SPAL). Three goals and three seasons later, Capello left SPAL and moved to the high profile Serie A club, Roma, winning the Coppa Italia with the team, his first ever professional trophy. Capello stayed at Roma for just two years, scoring eleven goals before being sold to Juventus where he was a key player during the 1970s. In 1973 Capello had the moment of his career when a goal for Italy helped the Italian team beat England at Wembley for the first time in football history. In 1976 Capello was sold again, this time to AC Milan where he stayed until the end of his playing career. After three seasons with Milan, Capello retired as a professional footballer and moved to coaching, going on to become one of the finest international coaches the game has ever seen.
Capello the Coach
After a memorable football career, Capello was appointed head coach of AC Milan in 1991, leading the team to league victory just one year later. He went on to see the club win three further Serie A titles which included one entire season when Milan went unbeaten in league games, earning the club the nickname ‘the invincibles.’ In 1997, still coaching Milan, the team beat Barcelona 4-0 in the final of the European Cup proving Capello’s worth as a coach and disciplinarian.
After a season at Real Madrid which was far less successful than his later second stint with the club, Capello returned to Italy in 1998 for another brief interlude with Milan before moving to Roma the following year where he continued to build his reputation as a skilled (but controversial) coach. Capello’s time with the club started well when he led Roma to a Scudetto (Italian League) victory in 2001, the first time they had won the league for ten years. In the years following the Scudetto triumph, however, Capello had a much publicised feud with Roma captain Francesco Totti as well as selling a number of the team’s key players, leading to (unproven) accusations that he was deliberately sabotaging the club’s performance. In 2004 Capello left the club, shortly after Roma finished bottom of the league, narrowly avoiding relegation.
Capello’s next move was to Juventus where once again he became linked to both victory and scandal. During his two-year reign as manager of the club Juventus won the Scudetto twice but have since been stripped of the titles after accusations were made that the club were involved with a match-fixing conspiracy. Although there has never been any evidence that Capello was involved in the match-fixing, the Italian coach left the club in 2006 for his second period with Spanish team Real Madrid. During his time at Juventus, Italian goal-keeper Gianluigi Buffon described Capello’s coaching style as that of a dictator, revealing Capello as a manager who is not interested in popularity but only in his club’s success.
Following his transfer from Juventus to Real Madrid, Capello had a number of conflicts with Madrid players including a high profile dispute with David Beckham after he refused to play the former England star due to contract disagreements. After being knocked out early in the Champions League, Real Madrid looked likely to lose the Italian manager before his first season was up, but during the second half of the season the tide turned and Madrid won a string of league matches, ending the season as La Liga (Spanish league) champions. Despite leading a flailing team to league victory for the first time in years, Capello was sacked at the end of the 2007 season due to his promotion of a defensive style of play and his ruthless method of selecting players which made him unpopular with both players and fans. Despite criticisms, however, Capello has continuously defended his defensive style of play arguing that in today’s international game, technical ability is more important than playing attacking football.
Capello the England Manager
After leading AC Milan, Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid to league victory, Capello has recently been appointed to the post of England manager, purported to be his last contract as manager before he retires from the game. Typically for Capello, his move to England has been shrouded in conflict, with many critics believing that Capello’s poor English will make him unsuitable for the job. After public support was given for Capello by Alex Ferguson and French manager Arsene Wenger, the Football Association overruled concerns about Capello’s English skills and, on December 14 2007, he was officially elected to the post. Said to be a dream come true, Capello has signed a deal with the English team for four and a half years and began his new role as head coach at the beginning of January 2008.
Fabio Capello calls his mum every night and I’m assured by a female colleague that this is important information.
Capello has won leagues as both coach and footballer, having won the national league with every team he has managed to date. His honours as a footballer include:
- Scudetto (Italian league) 1971-72, 1972-73, 1974-75 (Juventus); 1978-79 (Milan)
- Coppa Italia (Italian cup) 1968-69 (Roma); 1976-77 (AC Milan)
- European Cup (runner up) 1972-73
- Anglo-Italian League Cup (runner up) 1969
Capello’s honours as a coach include:
- Scudetto 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96 (AC Milan); 2000-01 (Roma); 2004-05, 2005-06 (Juventus)
- UEFA Champions League 1994 (AC Milan)
- UEFA (runner-up) 1993, 1995 (AC Milan)
- European Super Cup 1994 (AC Milan)
- Supercoppa Italia 1992, 1993, 1994 (AC Milan); 2001 (Roma)
- Supercoppa Italia (runner-up) 2005 (Juventus)
- Coppa Italia (runner-up) 1997-98 (Milan); 2002-03 (Roma)
- La Liga (Spanish League) 1996-97, 2006-07 (Real Madrid)