Fabio Capello. Cartoon illustration of Fabio Capello. Image copyright Battlers and Bottlers

Fabio Capello – Italian disciplinarian

Fabio Capello is one of the biggest names in World football. He had a hugely successful career both as a player and even more so as a manager. He is a strong disciplinarian and has managed some of the biggest stars in football history.

He has won several of the biggest prizes in club football and built title winning teams at four different clubs.

He got his first job as a head coach when he took over from Nils Liedholm at AC Milan towards the end of the 1986-87 season. With only six games to prove himself, Capello steered the club to UEFA Cu- qualification by beating Sampdoria in the play-off.

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Cartoon illustration showing Fabio Capello Copyright battlersandbottlers.com

AC Milan
Madrid, Roma and Juventus
Real Madrid and England
World Cup disaster
Football’s Greatest Managers

However, it wasn’t enough for Capello to be offered the job on a permanent basis. Arrigo Sacchi became the new manager but Capello stayed at the club. Sacchi’s appointment was met with derision in some quarters because he had never played professionally.

Nevertheless, Sacchi turned out to be a success, winning the Serie A title and two European Cups. He then left to become manager of the Italian national team.

Getting the manager’s job full time

This left the door open for Capello to take over. He inherited a fantastic team that included Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullet and a young Paulo Maldini. Capello turned the team into the dominant force of Italian football. After going without the title for the final three years of Sacchi’s reign, they became unstoppable when Capello took over.

They won the title in his first season without losing a game in the league. It was an achievement that has only been matched a handful of times in the history of all the top European leagues.

His invincible team’s unbeaten run carried on into the following season and eventually stretched to 58 games before they finally lost against Parma. However, that wasn’t enough to stop them racing away with the title and in 1992-93 they were crowned Serie A Champions for the second year running.

The year ended in disappointment as Milan reached the final of the Champions League only to lose 1-0 to Marseille.

Three titles in a row

The following season, they fought a close title race with Juventus and Sampdoria, eventually finishing top by three points. Despite Milan being one of the biggest clubs in European football, it was the only time they have ever won their domestic title three years in a row.

The club had another strong European campaign and reached the Champions League final for the second year running. This time there were no slip ups as they hammered Barcelona 4-0 in what had been expected to be a more even match at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.

The double of Serie A and Champions League made it the most successful season in the Milan’s history.

Fabio Capello played for Italy 32 times, scoring 8 goals.

The following year the club seemed to suffer from a hangover from the celebrations of their domestic and European success. They lost their Serie A title, finishing 13 points behind Champions, Juventus.

In the Champions League, they reached the final for the third year running but lost to Ajax in the final, conceding a late Patrick Kluivert goal.

Regaining the title

It was disappointing for a club that had had so much recent success to end the season without a trophy. However, Capello and the team regrouped and won their title back the following season. They finished 12 points ahead of Juventus.

It was Capello’s final season in charge of AC Milan and he left as a winner. He had earned a reputation as one of the best managers in Europe as well as being a strict disciplinarian. He was quick to deal with any dissenting voices within his squad and wasn’t worried about the player’s status and reputation within the club.

After Paolo Di Canio questioned Capello’s decisions, the pair had a heated row and subsequently, Di Canio was sold to Celtic. Capello becomes Real Madrid boss – Read More

AC Milan
Madrid, Roma and Juventus
Real Madrid and England
World Cup disaster
Football’s Greatest Managers