Ancelotti is an extraordinary realist, Klopp has changed the Premier League, Mourinho transmits charisma and ambition to his teams. Berlusconi and Perez are fantastic in their vision of a global football.
Dubai November 2022 – It’s time for football award nominations in the United Arab Emirates, particularly significant this time in view of the World Cup being held in Qatar, with football definitely feeling right at home in the whole Gulf area.
Fabio Capello, great international manager, top player and coach, triumphant both on the pitch and on the bench, is getting ready to take part in the event again, having already won the award as best manager. He’ll be taking to the stage at the Madinat Jumeirah with his colleagues, all in the running for recognition of their performance last season. Capello will present them to us for all that they stand for in football, their excellence, competitiveness, successes, and the fact that they are adored and idolised by millions of fans.
Capello is not someone who passes up opportunities in this respect. He both scored and won at Wembley. He coached title winners at national and international levels, winning with AC Milan, Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid, and then led the national teams of England and Russia. Ancelotti himself talked about this with us recently, describing Capello as the greatest tactician in the game and recalling what he referred to as Fabio’s masterpiece, the 1994 Champions League 4 – 0 win at Barcelona with a Milan deprived of its central defensive duo.
“It was nice to see Carlo angry after the goal that put Real at 2 – 1 in the Champions League at home with Shakhtar. That proves the character of an amazing talent who passes as mild-mannered and calm. As a player he was a midfielder with a brilliant vision of the game, a nice, philosophical lad, a tough guy capable of overcoming two knee injuries with inner strength. As manager he has won everything he could, absolutely everywhere because he has the gift of realism, he knows exactly how to apply himself and manages to bring out the best in his players.”
You have a lot in common, both together at Milan, then the experiences at Real.
“If we talk about Milan we touch on Berlusconi’s reign. The president had a global vision, he invented televised football and promoted it by organising a competition for clubs before devoting himself to changing the Champions League. I worked for him on this, I remember that he sent me to pick up the then president of Real Madrid with his private plane. He wanted to organise a European tournament with Real, Barca, Benfica and three Italian teams. At the time Italy captured 100 compared to 25 for the English in terms of the value of video rights. Today that seems impossible to believe. Except that we didn’t grant rights to countries that were already fully involved in the globalisation of football, while the English gave it up thanks to the luck of so many gamblers destined to tie themselves to the names of teams and players who also had the advantage of the language.”
Ancelotti was a realist, but Guardiola?
“He also played in one of my teams, Roma, but he was already at the end of his career. Today he is a coach in a natural phase of evolution, he has realised that many copy him and try to change his next level tactics. Apart from that he found Haaland, an excellent interpreter of the centre foward role, with his physical superiority, talent and courage. City has not managed to win the Champions League, but Guardiola will do with Haaland what he was able to do with Messi at Barcelona: take home the trophy. Number 9 is too important …”
“I really like him. He managed to impose tactical quality in England, causing a profound change in a football that seemed never to want to yield in this way. The same thing happened to me in Milan. You win, you continue to win, then the usual things get tiring and it gets harder.”
“Josè is different from the others. He is a leader who transmits charisma and ambition, wins over his players and the environment that surrounds them. He has won so much and will continue to do so.”
Florentino Perez’s Real Madrid has characterised the new millennium by reaching 14 Champions and is about to launch the new Bernabeu, after seeking the Super League: the issue of stadiums is not secondary in the fortunes of a club. For Madrid there is talk of future takings with nine zeros.
“Madrid is a world apart and Perez is now focusing on youth and ideas following the Galacticos era. The stadium is of enormous importance because it is the home of the fans, it identifies a team, the ambience, the entire town. In England they go to see football to feel at home.”
But in Italy there are still stadiums that serve two teams, Olimpico, San Siro and Marassi…
“It’s wrong, and we hope that new stadiums will be built soon. The model of a real home works all over the world. In Italy we need to think about young people, we have to let them play football, to have courage to throw themselves into it, to create big spaces for them. The stadiums themselves have to be designed for young people who are in a hurry these days, and deal with things rapidly in the modern era of social media and digital advances.”
Dubai will hold their Awards on 17 November, three days before the the Qatar 2022 World Cup kicks off: what is Capello anticipating?
“I am very curious about England based on my direct experience with them, having led them for a long time. The English football calendar gives no respite, and this leads to major differences in the performances of individual players during the course of ten months of action. I remember that in September, October and November the National team could play equally with everyone, and then pay the handicap in the second part of the season. This time, thanks to the World Cup being moved to November, England will certainly have a prominent role in Qatar, because it has valuable young players who are already experienced in achieving major results. The 2022 World Cup will give the answer to my theories on the pitch, but I am convinced that the English will play to win and have excellent chances.”
In Dubai, Fabio Capello will meet up with a good many of his Italian colleagues who are current Award nominees (besides Ancelotti from La Liga, Seria A is competing with Pioli, champion with Milan. Joining them are Simone Inzaghi, winner of the Italian Cup and Supercup, as well as Spalletti, top of the list in the 2022-23 tournament) and the best managers, all on their way to the World Cup. The success of football in the Emirates has created the conditions for organising big events and Globe Soccer with their Awards are proof of that. Who knows whether the English, boosted by Capello’s prediction, won’t become future candidates after a magical surprise at the World Cup.