Former England manager Fabio Capello reveals he almost brought Leo Messi to Juventus and can “100 per cent rule out a return to the bench in Italy.”
The tactician spoke to La Stampa newspaper during his rest period after resigning from the England post just months ahead of Euro 2012. He has been linked with next season's job at Inter, among others.
“It is gratifying to work for a national team, but I won’t rule out the possibility of training a club side again, even if right now I prefer to enjoy my vacation. However, I can 100 per cent rule out a return to the bench in Italy.”
Capello was asked whether this was like the ‘official version’ of his split from the FA.
“In both cases I told the truth.”
Don Fabio has won titles with both Milan and Juventus, so cast his eye over the current Scudetto race.
“It will be a head to head between Juve and Milan to the end, but the strain of the Champions League could well take its toll. The next round in Europe will be crucial for the Rossoneri, but in any case I still see Real Madrid and Barcelona in front.
“I do have a regret, as I faced Barcelona in a friendly with Juve and Messi was just over 16 years old. He had some problems registering the contract and I asked Frank Rijkaard to loan him to me for a year, so I could help him to grow. The response was negative, a real shame.”
Capello still believes Messi has a while to go in order to match Diego Armando Maradona, though.
“Maradona was more of a leader on the field, even if Lionel has something more in place, dribbling skills and his unpredictability in front of goal. There is also a different approach to defending against him.
“Don’t ask me who is stronger, as we are talking about different eras. I think both are amazing. Lionel is ‘only’ a great player, so everyone can appreciate him, whereas Diego was also a great character and had his own ideology, so he divided critics.”
Capello has not worked in Italy since Calciopoli and gave his view on what Serie A needs to do in the future.
“Compared to Barcelona and Real Madrid, the budgets just cannot compete. The same goes for England, where they now have magnates who can tip the scales. It has to be said, though, that in the Liga and the Premier League there are huge debts.
“As for the rest, we are falling behind because of the 1990 World Cup, where we spent hyperbolic sums for old stadiums that are now obsolete. With a section of violent fans and some components of society that creep into sport, we will not see Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in Serie A.
“However, that does not mean Serie A is mediocre. In Italy we play good football, the referees can finally let the game run and not reward divers. Then the clubs have done well to compensate for the economic gap by spotting talents like Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Stevan Jovetic, Hernanes, Miralem Pjanic and Erik Lamela.”
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