Thursday February 4 2016
Capello: ‘I punched Cassano!’

Fabio Capello reveals he and Antonio Cassano came to blows during their time together at Roma.

The tactician famously fell out with the mercurial striker, though the two later reunited at Real Madrid.

“A Coach has to have 40 guys who respect him, every day,” Capello told Spanish newspaper AS.

“My father used to say: ‘I only need one word’. Respect, respect, respect.

“Did Cassano and I almost come to blows? We did, it happened! But at Roma I had a team of exceptional men who won the League.

“I respect the players, and I want them to respect me. I’m serious, not harsh.”

Capello was also asked about suggestions that his teams are overly defensive, something he rejects.

“It’s the biggest lie in the world! They started saying that when I won my first title with Milan, all the games were 1-0, 1-0, 1-0…

“But look at my first year in Madrid! Only one midfielder played, and that was [Fernando] Redondo! Next to him was Seedorf, who was an attacking midfielder.

“Then on one wing was Victor, on the other was Raul and up-front was [Pedrag] Mijatovic and [Davor] Suker. Is that defensive?”

The former England manager was also asked about working with Brazilian superstar Ronaldo at Real Madrid.

“Look, he weighed 96kg. I asked ‘how much did you weigh when you won the World Cup [in 2002]?’

“84kg he said. ‘Can you go down to 90kg at least?’ And he didn’t. It was a Madrid of words, not work. They were good players, but they weren’t connected. It was difficult. They had cliques.

“When people ask me the best player I’ve worked with, I always say Ronaldo. Ronaldo was awesome, the best by far. Him and [Marco] Van Basten.”