It has been a difficult few months for England Manager Fabio Capello.
Aside from England’s dreadful performance and subsequent early exit from the World Cup, the Italian was also left with egg on his face when his involvement with the controversial Capello Index was exposed. Both events prompted a fierce media backlash, with the press openly questioning his selection policy, tactics and more crucially, his integrity. After such a promising start, the cracks have started to appear.
Add to this the number of off-field issues he has been forced to address with his philandering players and he could be forgiven for simply giving up. John Terry’s unwillingness to keep “Terry Jnr” in his trousers, Ashley Cole’s abject refusal to honour his wedding vows (culminating in a very public divorce) and most recently Wayne Rooney’s penchant for visiting prostitutes must have tested Capello’s resolve to breaking point. Who was he coaching here, the England football team or the cast of Fatal Attraction? Things couldn’t get much worse for the under-pressure manager.
And then someone releases a story that you believe in ghosts. Great.
Yes, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has claimed in his autobiography that compatriot Capello used to be spooked by a presence in the coach’s room at Milanello, AC Milan’s training complex, during his time with the Italian club.
Ancelotti revealed: “The first time I walked into that room, I had a distinct impression. I could see an array of presences. I was sleeping in the bed that had belonged to Nereo Rocco, Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello.
“In the old days, Capello – under the influence, I believe, of the director of the sports centre, Antore Peloso – used to claim that there was a ghost, wandering freely down the hallway, especially after sunset.”
Wow. Fabio is undoubtedly delighted that this story has surfaced. It’s probably just what he needs; an already-critical nation questioning his mental health. But Ancelotti isn’t done yet:
“I never understood which was crazier, Don Fabio or that ghost, who had decided to pick on him of all people. It really got to be a problem.”
Quite a problem indeed; an improbable presence occasionally wafting up a corridor at night. Sounds inconvenient to say the least. However did they cope? Carlo tells us:
“I can still see Capello, shoulders thrown back, chest swelling with righteous indignation: ‘Be gone, go **** yourself, evil spirit. This is not a team of dead men’.”
So say what you will about Capello’s ability to manage a football team, but may his powers of exorcism never be called into question.