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Last Updated: Monday, 17 December 2007, 12:07 GMT
Questions, cameras and Capello
By Christian Fraser
BBC News, Rome

Fabio Capello
The new England manager is known to guard his privacy

Since Fabio Capello became the favourite to take over as England manager, he has been the focus of intense media interest.

The former Real Madrid boss has had a difficult relationship with the media, but never before will he have experienced the sort of scrutiny which comes with this new job.

What better place to escape the hype and hysteria that comes with the England job than the millionaire's paradise of Lugano in Switzerland - a tax haven for the super-rich and home of the new 6m-a-year England manager.

From the balcony of his exclusive penthouse suite, Capello has enviable views across the lake of Lugano to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.

But just below that balcony there have been the cameras of the British media, camped out, waiting for any whisper, any inkling that Capello was on his way to London.


In Switzerland where they guard their privacy jealously, there have been some rather disparaging looks from the neighbours.

And last week we witnessed for the first time the more prickly side of the new England manager.

I am just sorry for poor old Italy that they will soon have to play an England side with Capello at the helm
Aldo Brabi, restaurant owner

The cameras were blocking the path of his removal truck that had just arrived from Madrid.

Across the country on the Italian border with Slovenia in his home town of Pieris the tabloid papers were visiting his mother, poring over the family album.

They "door-stepped' his sister, the coaches from his boyhood football club, hoovering up the minutest details of "Fabio the man".

Capello is a very private person who will no doubt tire of this incessant interest.

'Ugly opponent'

He dislikes the constant navel-gazing of the football world, preferring to indulge himself with art and literature. It is reported his personal art collection is worth in the region of 10m.

In Rome, where he spent the early years of his career, his friends are supremely confident he will do a good job.

He used to eat at the restaurant Pomidoro in the trendy suburb of San Lorenzo. The owner Aldo Brabi said Capello is "dedicated to his work" right down to the last detail.

"At Roma he confiscated the players' mobile phones while they travelled on the team bus," Mr Brabi said.

"Some of them had three women so they were always on the phone. With Fabio, they have to think of the game.

"He is the best worker a team could have. As we say in Rome, non c'e trippa per gatti - there's no competition! He is the best. He has won everything."

Such an endorsement bodes well for the Football Association. But aren't the Italians slightly concerned that one of their own has crossed to the other side?

Fabio Capello and David Beckham
Perhaps David Beckham could offer some advice on media relations

"This time England has guessed right," said Mr Brabi. "I am just sorry for poor old Italy that they will soon have to play an England side with Capello at the helm.

"England will become an ugly opponent. And I won't know how to behave if we play them.

"He is a friend - but I am an Italian!"


The papers echo that sentiment, but there is still a healthy respect for English football.

And this is widely considered one of the best jobs in the game, although in recent years it has grown into a poisoned chalice - the pressure of the media interest being the biggest concern.

A story in Gazetta Dello Sport was entitled, "The new life for Mister Fabio."

Within it these salient points of advice. Number one, respect the media - though they will never respect you. Number two, you don't need to speak English well - you need to speak it perfectly. And three, if you're successful you are untouchable - fail and you are mincemeat.

Welcome to the hotseat, Mr Capello.

Capello 'can win England a title'
17 Dec 07 |  Internationals
How Capello's England will look
17 Dec 07 |  Internationals
England lack confidence - Capello
17 Dec 07 |  Internationals

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