Capello backs Real Madrid stars

Fabio Capello began his first day as coach at Real Madrid on Thursday saying he backed stars David Beckham, Ronaldo and Raul Gonzalez.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:35 IST
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Fabio Capello began his first day as coach at Real Madrid on Thursday saying he backed stars David Beckham, Ronaldo and Raul Gonzalez. "Beckham is an important Real Madrid player," Capello said, adding that the numbers speak for Ronaldo. "To win you have to score goals, Ronaldo does that." Capello said that he believed in Raul and compared him to Milan captain Paolo Maldini. "Raul will recover, he'll be an important player for Real Madrid," said the new coach. Capello said he will work hard to resurrect struggling Real Madrid when he was presented as the team's sixth coach in three years. "I'm very happy to return to this, the most important club in the world. To be a winning club you have to work hard and be humble," Capello told a news conference at which the team announced it has signed a three-year contract with the former Juventus coach. The new coach said that although he was aware that Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo had shown interest in joining Madrid, the club had not as yet reciprocated the interest. "Cristiano Ronaldo is a great player, but he's a Manchester United player. Players always want to play at Real Madrid and we're happy he might want to play here," said Capello. Capello resigned from Juventus on Tuesday, the same day an Italian prosecutor asked a sports tribunal to demote the team to Serie C or lower and strip the team of the Serie A titles it won in the past two seasons for its role in Italy's match-fixing scandal. Capello said that he believed what the judges in Italy were doing was "exaggerated". He also said that it was important now for all those who worked at Juventus to go. "Every club is now looking for players from Juventus, you have to bear in mind that eight Juve players will be in the World Cup Final," Capello said. Capello led Madrid to the 1997 Spanish league title in his one season in charge. Incoming Madrid president Ramon Calderon pledged to hire him earlier this week. Calderon trusts in Capello's achievements - he led AC Milan to the Champions League title in 1994; and Milan, AS Roma and Juventus to seven Italian league championships. His reputation as a disciplinarian is also appealing. Calderon said that though he might have spoken to Chelsea's Arjen Robben, it happened before he became president. Madrid would abide by all the correct procedures in signing new players, Calderon said. Capello will operate without interference from the president or the board of directors, Calderon said. Capello will reportedly be the highest paid coach in Madrid's history. Sports daily Mundo Deportivo saying on Thursday that he will receive 16.6 million dollars for three seasons, plus bonuses. Together with Calderon and his new sports director Predrag Mijatovic - who played under Capello at Madrid - the coach is expected to undertake a major renovation of the team. The futures of Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos and several other players are uncertain. Madrid is interested in signing AC Milan's Kaka, Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Chelsea's Robben. Other possible recruits suggested by the Spanish media this week include Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juventus' Emerson and Gianluca Zambrotta, and Lyon's Mahamadou Diarra. In his previous spell, Capello revived a struggling team and earned it the nickname of "Madrid of the stars" before leaving after disagreements with then-president Lorenzo Sanz. But Madrid has changed since then. The arrival of Florentino Perez to the presidency in 2000 saw Madrid adopt its policy of signing "galacticos" - world-famous players such as Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham - with the aim of making Madrid one of the world's biggest brands. Perez was perceived as a roaring financial success, but the team slumped following Beckham's arrival in 2003, leading Perez and his successor Fernando Martin to quit earlier this year. (AP)