Fabio Capello, speaking for the first time since his dramatic resignation as England‘s manager on Wednesday, has confirmed he chose to walk away because he “could not permit interference from the Football Association in my work”.
The FA chairman, David Bernstein, said on Thursday that Capello had been unwilling to accept the decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy due to the defender’s pending racism trial in July. Terry denies a charge of racially abusing the Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.
Capello said he felt “relaxed” about his decision to leave. “I acted the way I always have in football. I cannot permit interference from the FA in my work. I have always been clear who should manage the team and the dressing room, and who has to take decisions.”
However, he also issued a statement of thanks to the FA for its approach towards him before the Terry confrontation.
“I would like to thank the players, the staff and the FA for the professional approach they have shown during the years I have been manager of the national team. I would like to send a special greeting to all the fans who have backed the team and my work. To all of them I hope they achieve their highest sporting goals.”
The Italian media, though, remain unconvinced by Capello’s warm words, and by the reason he left – suggesting it was just an excuse to end a relationship already in serious trouble.
“The English could not stand him any longer and he could not stand the English any more,” stated La Repubblica. “A politically correct excuse was required to terminate a marriage which has never been consummated, and the Terry case, with its racist undertone, was perfect.”
The paper blamed England’s 2010 World Cup performance for the FA’s desire to find a homegrown manager. Capello, “who has to be an absolute ruler”, could not tolerate tinkering with his choice of captain, it added.
Corriere della Sera wrote: “Fabio Capello was the targeted victim in a battle between clans that got out of hand. English football may be beautiful, but underneath it is not much different to continental football: a splendid soap opera.”
La Gazzetta dello Sport, meanwhile, listed Capello’s series of similarly bitter farewells as player and manager from the likes of Juventus, Real Madrid, Milan and Roma, noting: “His goodbyes are never tender. The man is made like this.”
The paper also recalled how Capello was part of the Italian team that beat England at Wembley in 1973, in front of what the English press called “30,000 waiters”. Capello dedicated that victory “to the waiters”, the paper said. “And yesterday he turned the lights off at Wembley again – this time for ever.”