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Don Fabio – Unpopular As Usual

Fabio Capello is starting to feel the pressure. Suddenly, football pundits are recalling that the last two teams he has coached were conservative and uninspiring. His Juventus side, who were stripped of the titles Capello won during his time there in the calciopoli scandal, were a team who would happily sneak an odd goal victory and in the meantime infuriate their own fans.

Then Capello left for Real Madrid and took Fabio Cannavaro and Emerson with him. Defensively spectacular at the time, these were two players from Capello’s mould. Real Madrid trusted Capello, he returned their faith by winning La Liga, but his success had as much to do with Barcelona’s collapse as it did with his own management. The only decision Capello made, which was applauded afterwards, was bringing back David Beckham into the side. Capello had initially arrived and removed Beckham from the squad. Real Madrid languished 6 points behind Barcelona when Beckham was recalled. After some inspired performances from Beckham and the team securing several injury time winners, Capello was applauded as a genius. The critically observant Real Madrid fans, though, were never convinced. They knew Capello was tactically naive during the season and very fortunate.

Several seasons earlier, before Juventus and his second spell Real Madrid, Capello was called the exact same thing by a number of Roma fans. He had led Roma to a very rare Serie A title but had done so in unconvincing fashion and infuriated the Roma fans. This was only Roma’s 3rd Serie A title but the fans did not take to Fabio Capello. He had spent big money and taken a title challenger to the title. Roma fans were always convinced that the spine of their team was good and all they needed was one or two big money signings to win the title. Capello demanded the money, spent it on Gabriel Batistuta and Roma won. The success, in terms of management, tactics and motivation, had very little to do with Capello in the Roma fans eyes.

In Italy and Spain Capello is seen a little differently to the Don Fabio image he has created in England. Roma fans disliked his style and were angry he took many Roma players with him to Juventus. Juventus fans disliked the fact he abandoned the club after the calciopoli scandal and took some of their players to Real Madrid. Real Madrid fans dislike Capello because his style is completely contrary to the type the Real Madrid institution insist is necessary for them to play. Thanks to his stubborn nature, Capello appears unwilling to change tactics, he is starting to distance himself from favourable popular opinion in England. It looks like the same old story for Don Fabio. Usually at the end of it, though, he brings success despite the bad press. Right now England fans would happily take that. The man born a few kilometres from the Slovenian border has it all to do.