Fabio Capello At The Exhibition of Champions

Tuesday, 01, November, 2011

Fabio Capello at the Exhibition of Champions

Fabio Capello on winning the Champions League as a manager in 1994, losing to Ajax as a player, who he thinks will win this year's competition, plus the great memorabilia on display at the Exhibition of Champions at Wembley Stadium.

What is your first memory of the European Cup?

It was the final that I played in Belgrade for Juventus when we lost to Ajax in 1973. This game was so important to us but we lost 1 – 0. It was impossible to beat this team with such great players like Johann Cruyff.

I remember as a player seeing Ajax with the Cup at the end of the game and they just put it with the bags on the bus. This was their third consecutive European Cup, it was normal for them to win, like nothing but to us it was something we wanted desperately and I felt it should have been ours.

You mentioned Johann Cruyff he was the manager of Barcelona in 1994 when you lifted the Cup as a manager with AC Milan. What was that experience like?

This was a totally different experience. Everyone at the time thought Barcelona was the best team and that they were impossible to beat. This was a motivation for my players.

We played a fantastic game, we were very focussed and we prepared very well. On the pitch the players did everything perfectly. We beat Barcelona 4 – 0 and they only had one shot at the goal.

During the game I think we played perfectly. And the performance of the players was really important, all of the players played 100%. This is the reason why we beat Barcelona 4-0.

Was this the best achievement in your career as a manager?

Yes. We started the game without the centre back Alessandro Costacurta and without Franco Baresi who were both suspended. We played with our left back Paulo Maldini at centre back and we played Christian Panucci at left back.

Barcelona had just won the Spanish title the last game that they had played, they were happy and they were very confident of playing well. Everyone thought they would win.

I think sometimes when you are focussed and you prepare really well and you really want to beat the other team you can find the energy to do it. We had a winning mentality.

You mentioned the team that you faced in 1973 Ajax were unbeatable. Currently Barcelona are the Champions of Europe do you think that they are maybe close to a team that cannot be beaten?

I think this year that Real Madrid will be really close to Barcelona. They play a different style and are improving a lot.

I don’t know whether Barcelona will get to the great final at the end of this season. The squad at Real Madrid is really strong which means they can change the players around a lot during the season and this will help them. However I can see that a lot of the really important players for Barcelona are injured now. I hope they will be fit for the next part of the season.

I think also the England teams like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea are improving a lot and could reach the final stages of the Champions League. For me another team you need to watch is Bayern Munich. This is a really good team. The way that they played against Man City was really something. They have good balance, a winning mentality and they are scoring a lot of goals. And for the first time after a very long time they have got a good goalkeeper and this is really, really important.

You are the England Manager and Wembley is your home stadium. How did it feel to watch the Champions League Final here at Wembley in May of this year?

I think that Wembley is the best stadium in the world. Playing here is very important for the players and all the teams. The stadium is fantastic and we have a good pitch now. Also the facilities here are the best facilities in the world. I know the facilities at Real Madrid’s stadium, Barcelona’s, the San Siro and the stadium for Bayern Munich all these stadium’s are really good but nowhere is like Wembley.

You’ve also had a look around the Exhibition of Champions here at Wembley which celebrates the competition over the years and looks back at the finals when you were a player and a manager. What do you think the fans who come and see some of this memorabilia will think?

Just as it's very important for the players to play here it’s very important for the fans to come here, visit Wembley, come to the games and experience all the different things that happen here. The exhibition celebrates the history of the Champions League and the European Cup before that and I think it’s fantastic. A lot of fans would love to see these things.

We are standing at 1994, is this your favourite display at the exhibition?

Yes, because it is my title. And it’s a great exhibition.

Final question, everyone dreams of lifting the Champions League trophy. What is it that is so special about the Champions League and so exciting for both the fans and the players?

Because it’s the competition where you can play some of the best teams in the world. It is a dream for every team and every player. And also its the atmosphere, it’s the music before the game, everything is exciting. You get good games elsewhere but not as exciting as this.

View the interview in full here

The Exhibition of Champions is being hosted at Wembley as part of the Wembley Stadium Tour until the end of January 2012. For more information please visit www.wembleystadium.com/tours