Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Capello lashes out

Marca has an "exclusive" interview today (continued tomorrow) with Fabio Capello, but you won't find it on their website, only in the printed edition. He has some choice words for the management, led by Calderón and Mijatovic, especially about the manner of his dismissal after winning the league title:

"Mijatovic lied to me and (assistant coach) Franco Baldini, who had a very important offer from another team. He said: 'You will stay here, we will all be staying here.' I never heard anything from him (Calderón). He has never called me... I think I deserved some respect from someone who came to get me from Italy, someone I helped to win the elections and succeed as president."

Harsh words, and yet not surprising. It's been fairly well documented that Mijatovic initially wanted Capello to stay, but probably buckled under pressure from Calderón and the rest of the board who wanted 'exciting football' at the Bernabéu. To save his own skin, he stabbed Capello in the back so that the decision was seen to be unanimous.

"What hurt me most was that they appointed me to do a serious, tough and difficult job and we had a very difficult dressing room to deal with. There were many conflicting groups and each one had its leader who blamed the others when things weren't going well. But we pulled the team together, recovered the team spirit and they played with great enthusiasm and belief."

All true. This is my main gripe with the management. They had no class. You do not set objectives for someone, knowing full well how they intend to deliver them, and then proceed to remove them when those methods become unpalatable. They may have had the excuse they wanted, had Capello not won the league (one almost senses that they would have preferred this), but they went ahead and did it anyway. This may come back to haunt them.

Capello also blamed the management for the decision to exclude David Beckham from the squad. "The decision was taken because the club management said that he had negotiated with them, having already agreed a contract with Los Angeles. They said that they couldn't count on a player that wasn't going to remain at the club."

At the time, I suspected this may have been the case. However, it cannot be the whole story. Capello must take responsibility for either bowing to pressure or agreeing that the punishment was adequate. That he eventually recanted when things got tough is not necessarily to his credit, if it's not accompanied by an apology for his earlier decision.

Capello also praised AC Milan for signing Emerson from Real Madrid for 5 million euros. "Milan have made a fantastic signing in Emerson. He is a champion that can give a lot. He struggled at the start of his adventure with Real Madrid but then he recovered well. Emerson is a complete midfielder, able to interpret to perfection all the roles in the centre of midfield."

He would say that, wouldn't he, given that Real brought him from Juventus on his advice. But, to be honest, Emerson never really completely clicked at Real, no matter how many chances he was given. It is true he brightened a little towards the end of the season, but his overall performances never justified his price tag. Presumably this is why he has been let go for a fraction of his original cost (both he and Cannavaro signed for around 20 million euros last summer). Emerson himself had harsh words for the management at the club: "During the hard times I lived through last season I never had a call from the president. He did not behave correctly towards me. There is a huge gulf between the players in the squad and the management."

It'll be interesting to see what Capello says in tomorrow's second instalment.


estoverao said...

Capello definitely had to go but I agree that management should have been more straightforward about it. There was no need to be underhanded. What struck me as interesting about his comments were the ones about different factions in the dressing rooms and each with a leader. This isn't the first time I've heard about rival factions within Madrid. I can't help but think that Raul holds court over the largest faction which explains why from 'Luxemburgo thru Capello' and now Schuster no one has the 'cojones' to bench him.

G said...

It pains me to see that our club has so little class. I mean, Capello did all they asked of him, he won, under extreme pressure and he gets sacked. I agree with the other comment, Raul holds too much power. there is no reason a team this good would allow a player with his diminished skills to continue to play as much as he does.

Gonzalo said...


We'll agree to disagree on whether Capello should've gone (I've made my position on this clear in other posts).

On your second point about Raul, which is echoed by g, there is no question that he does seem to have a large portion of the press behind him for reasons which escape me, and which is not consistent with his form over the past four years. However, I think too much is made of his so-called power in the dressing room. After all, the management team is relatively new and the coach is completely new; they had no ties to the previous administration and any mistakes made by them over contract renewals for the galacticos. I suspect Raul does a lot of work on the pitch which goes unnoticed and that is appreciated by a succession of coaches. He's also been used in a large number of positions over the years, affecting his ability to score and lastly, but not least, physically he's not who he was. He's still a valuable player to Real, but, like Guti, I think he should be used sparingly to get the most out of him.