Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Madrid Hotseat: The Undoing of Fabio Capello

What is going on at the Bernabeau? Amid reports that gaffer Fabio Capello was about to resign after Real Madrid's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich last week, a startling discovery about a "pact" between the Italian manager and Brazilian midfielder Emerson has surfaced. Despite sitting in fourth place, a mere six points away from league leaders Barcelona, the haze of controversy and rumour surround los Merengues.

Capello, who has been the model of frustration and premature arrogance for pretty much most of this year (showing fans the one-finger salute, threatening to bench Goldenballs for the rest of the season) apparently made a pact with the oft-abused Emerson that he would sit out the rest of the season's home games due to fan abuse.

Much like his promise that David Beckham would never play in a Madrid kit, this proved to be a premature and simply stupid agreement on Capello's part. Of course, when Capello wanted to substitute the Brazilian for Fernando Gago, he refused and was forced to play Mahamadou Diarra, and it was all caught on camera, which the Spanish press had a field day with.

The question is, why on earth would a coach of Capello's pedigree, make a promise to anyone, much less a player, halfway through the season? Personally, I think we're watching the great Fabio Capello reach his boiling point. He left the Bernabeau the first time around for a reason, and that reason has been fairly evident since Real Madrid stopped winning silver, after the departure of Vicente del Bosque. Six managers in three years tells you a lot about fickleness and I'm sure if you looked up the word in a Castillian dictionary, it'd have a photo of someone in a white Real Madrid shirt.

So why is he still there, despite showing such a massive distaste not only for players and the board, but the fans as well? When you have the King of Spain, impotent figurehead he may be, asking about when you're going to leave your club, it's probably time to leave. And it's not necessarily for Capello's lack of trying, whose contract runs until 2009.

However, the sum of 16 million euros, what the gaffer is due at the end of the year, is the main reason why he remains. According to various reports, the club owe him the remainder of his contract if he leaves now, but owe him nothing if he leaves at the end of the season. So one of the coaching greats of soccer just needs to see out the end of this season for a substantial payday, and hopefully a top four finish. Unfortunately, to do so at a club like Real Madrid, can seem like an eternity.

Capello, Emerson, Mijatovic And The Bernabéu Pact [Goal.com]
King Juan Carlos asks Real Madrid about Capello axe [Tribal Football]


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