August 12th, 2010
10:14 AM ET

Beckham blunder: Has crass Capello lost the plot?

Has Capello lost the plot?
Has Capello lost the plot?

London, England (CNN) - What has happened to soccer coach Fabio Capello? How could a man with the Italian's experience end the international career of an football icon such as David Beckham first, with an off-the-cuff remark to the world's press, and second, without having informed the player beforehand?

Beckham, love him or loathe him, surely has a record that deserved better treatment. The most capped outfield player in England's history (115 appearances), the midfielder, who was made captain in 2000, had played in three World Cups for his country.

In shirt sales alone, the 34-year-old must have contributed more to the Football Association's coffers than any other player, as Beckham's global fan base rivals the biggest superstars.

Such lack of judgment from the usually media-savvy Capello continues the reputation-erosion that has affected the 64-year-old's once impenetrable high regard in the world of football.

He was previously a model of the elite modern coach: tactically astute, multi-lingual, press-prepared and with a personality and record that could command respect from even the most petulant of modern-day, millionaire footballers.

After playing for both AC Milan and Juventus as a young man, Capello forged a formidable career as a club coach by winning four titles and a European Cup for the Rossoneri, two league titles with Real Madrid, two with Juventus and another with Roma.

It was his stature and the former striker's disciplinarian approach, that reinvigorated a beleaguered England team, who under his guidance, flamboyantly qualified for the 2010 World Cup as the top-scoring side from Europe.

Was Capello right to announce Beckham's retirement without telling the player first?

A reputation takes a lifetime to build and minutes to lose so the saying goes, and though in Capello's case the time period has been months, there can be no doubt that a figure who once seemed untouchable is now showing major fallibility.

England's showing in South Africa was nothing short of a disaster; Capello's inability to mold a strong team ethic as well as his lack of tactical creativity were laid bare for all to see.

His refusal to quit after such a performance showed commitment to his contract but bucked a trend in international football (France apart) where coaches leave their post after failure in a major tournament.

The lack of respect shown to a living legend, no matter how right the decision maybe, will only surely add to a growing feeling that Capello has lost his Midas touch.

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soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Steven

    This is completely unbelievable. I hope the club announces Capello's sacking to the press without first informing him.

    August 12, 2010 at 11:44 am | Reply
  2. mohamed miske

    beckham is one of best and great soccer players in the history regardless of capello's decision

    August 12, 2010 at 11:46 am | Reply
  3. bagio

    Becks surely deserves respect. He is one of the biggest names in football and a great player still. I would want to see him play till the age of 60. He is a hard working player and has a very strong metal fitness as well. Let him play untill he decides to put down his boots himself. Capello come on!!!!!!!!!

    August 12, 2010 at 11:46 am | Reply
  4. ikesco

    This is really crazy, so Capello has now lost it because he made a honest and truthful statement, who is David Brckham in football, I think David Beckham is a model or celebraty, as far as football is concern, he doesn't possesed the skill as great footballer. This is the problem with England, always rely on statistic and not the real thing, ask yourself, how many english player ever goes out of England to play or how many is sort most in terms of playing football, Bekham happen to go to Spain just to help them sell mechandise and nothing more, he is never a player and will never be. I don't know what is special about him anyway.

    August 12, 2010 at 11:50 am | Reply
  5. Mehul

    Bekham and the entire english team are rubbish. Capello should kick them all out and replace them with UK immigrants.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  6. Driad

    Why England has not fired Capello up to now is beyond me. SHAME

    August 12, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Reply

    Capello ought to have respect the player irrespective of his status. And besides ,he should know that respect is a reciprocal i.e for his to be respected he too has to first respect him self and others

    August 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  8. Tracey, London, UK

    Capello always was a joke. He won Europen silverware by hopping around clubs already dripping with success, history a mile long, strength in depth and bucketfuls of cash. The day after the gorup draw was announced, I cringed with embarrassment when the front-page news read 'England, Algeria, Slovenia, Yanks: EASY!'. After their 1-4 massacre by an exciting young German team, the jerk didn't even stay on to watch brilliant managers (Jogi Low, Germany especially) steer their brilliant teams to brilliant football. He couldn't even speak a word of English when he came to UK, and even now my 2 year-old grand-daughter holds a better conversation. He had the cheek to say he was staying in the job to 'wreak revenge'. For what, idiot? your failure? Nothing to do with the $9 million a year, huh? Do us all a favour Capello, go sell pizza and ice-cream.

    Tracey (English, proud of my country, ashamed of that whole squad of overpaid, arrogant, mice)

    PS well done USA, my adopted country, at least you tried and deservedly topped the group.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Reply

    we dont know the layered communication between the beckham and the capello, the quality of it, and the issues including the various roles of player/star/business identity etc that the beckham is.
    if the game is about the game, and it is a game, a good one, then the coach makes such announcements and thats that. i prefer it that way. it brings in a sound operational perspective to a coaching responsibility. the beckham industry is an industry not just a person. im sure he knew, and knew why.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  10. Marie

    This is my theory...take it or leave it....but I believe that the one who is OLD is Capello. He is definitely showing signs of mental impairment and lack of good judgement. These can be age-related. He needs to take a good long look in the mirror before he judges anyone by their age.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  11. david burton

    He wants to improve players minds! I think there is a major language problem leading to a misuse of words, he is still translating from Italian as he speaks – FA should get rid of him and hire Roy HODGSON – WHATEVER IT COSTS

    August 12, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  12. trudy

    it is bad that capello did this. i am sure it was a slip of tongue because david has done so much for his country. he loves his country and very open about it. Look the way he supported his mates during world cup. i believe if he has to end the career he needed to have met with him so he decides what next to do. it is an embarrassment both to capello and david

    August 12, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  13. Khalid

    This is just a complete blunder by Capello...I do not think it is what he intended to say to the press initially...I want to believe it is lack of command of English....

    August 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Reply
  14. Megan

    No matter what has transpired between Capello and Beckham, he does not deserve to be treated like this. Beckham is one of the most recognisable players in the world, and has been a shining example of how to be a good footballer, and what does he get for it? not even the decency of a phonecall beforehand.

    Capello is an idiot and a rude one to boot!

    August 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  15. NewsHawk

    Foolishness on anyone's part to dismiss a living legend in any sport in such a manner. As an American who never watched or played soccer (football) growing up, even I know who David Beckham is. What goes comes around, goes around.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  16. Zack

    Fabio seems to be getting crazier by the day, he may become the next Domenech

    August 12, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  17. makapa

    i also believe Beckham's just a celebrity made famous by the media. Like most English players, he is not as skilled as we are made to believe. He must just retire..

    August 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Reply

    Beckham deserves better treatment than this. There is nothing wrong in droping him, but should have been informed personally. Capello should call him and apologise.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  19. Don Nkes

    The truth is always bitter, Capelo has said the truth, Beckham is old, his time has past and that is the reality. Beckham does not rank even as high as Players like Ronaldo (original) Zinadene, Ronaldihno, but these players are all out of international competitions. He needs to move on to some other things and that is Life.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  20. Neil Harvey

    Welcome to England, a country which is so neurotic that you cannot speak your mind because the press will then slaughter you, while laughing all the way to the bank.


    The press's scathing attitude on those rare comments by the famous which do not actually induce sleep are an attack on freedom of speech – by emotional attrition.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  21. Celestino gonçalves Filho

    Some coaches have luck for some time. The real ones, depend on hard work , dedication,knowledge,reflection above their attitudes, and , above all that, communication . By these caracteristics can any one of the following gentlemen be considered a real coach – Domenech,Dunga, Cappelo,Maradona and some other showmen around the world.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  22. dreamline

    England respects immigrants than its won citizens. How much is Capello earning? That's the reason why they did not fire him after South Africa. For Beckam, only real citizens will continue backing him.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  23. A. Theobald

    I reckon supporters will still be commenting about David Beckham long after Capello is forgotten. The soccer world is still looking for a player with the crossing abilities of David, and I suspect will be looking for a long time yet. English is losing a player who can win a match in 10 minutes, he does'nt need to dash around for ninety like some do.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  24. DC

    Fabio Capello, should be the one out on his ear. What total disrespect for a great footballer such as Beckham. Perhaps Mr. Capello should receive the very same respect he has dished out. Absolutely none. He should be made by the powers above him to publically apologise to David Beckham.

    Perhaps Beckham is not performing the way he once did, but you must give the man credit for his professionalism.

    David Beckham is the man. Let him be a big party of the next English World Cup team and I can bet you England will go further than they did this time round. What a terrible showing.

    David you are the man, no matter what Capello thinks!!

    August 12, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  25. Mark

    Who cares! footbal is just a business model to steal from the poor to give to the rich!

    August 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  26. tracey

    To go off at a tangent...Capello unless you stop making excuses and admit what's wrong, you can never put it right. On TV today you were saying Lampard's goal would have made all the difference. Yeah? Are you forgetting 0-0 Algeria (lowest ranked) 1-0 Slovenia (smallest population); Germany 12 goals in 3 consecutive games, England 3 goals in 4 games? Are you forgetting the mountain rescue parties, sniffer dogs and helicopters which were sent in to find out if Rooney, Terry, Carragher et al were actually on the pitch at any time?

    Hunger, Capello. It wasn't there in SA. It was there last night in a few of the new boys and Gerrard. Forget fancy tactics: drop everyone, permanently, who doesn't want to eat raw meat and smear their bloody hands on a shirt they are proud to wear; and every manager earning more than £1M a year (oh, dear Fabio...does that mean goodbye?)

    August 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  27. BeckleMic

    Fabio Capello has demonstrated again that he has no tact; now he is becoming a joke and so is the football team of England. For a person with such a distinguished career as Beckham and from sheer common professional courtesy, Capello treated him disgracefully. For the whole world to be informed that Beckham was no longer needed on the team without first informing Beckham privately, is unprofessional beyond words. David Beckham deserves better. Heck, anyone deserves better.

    August 12, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  28. Dave

    Is it possible he is just trying to re-motivate David Beckham? If he then brings Beckham back onto the team, maybe Beckham will play with fire again, like he has something to prove? Deliberately disrespectful in this case?

    August 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  29. NP

    Yes, it is important to have young players, but it is also important to have experienced players. Beckham deserves better treatment. Seems like Capello is trying to come up for reasons why England did so poorly at the World Cup and in the end doesn´t want to take the blame himself. If leading by example means anything, then I know where the problem is.

    August 12, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  30. Granbo

    The one constant throughout England's miserable failures has been Beckham. Three world cup failures as a player, two european championship failures as a player, one world cup failure as a talisman. He should have finished his England career when resigning captaincy in tears after the 2006 miserable campaign. He was only retained as a 'cameo player' to put bums on seats at the new Wembley as the FA has not finished paying for it yet. Bringing him on for five minutes at the end of the game should not warrant an international cap.
    Capello's lack of fluency in English made the announcement more blunt than it should have been and the press as usual have taken it out of context. They will still select him for friendly games, although goodness knows why. Friendly games should be for experimentation with new players not pats on the back for those who have had their time in the limelight. It's a pity his playing ability never matched his celebrity status which is all down to the press feeling they have to create icons. If people must have idols to worship I don't know why they don't try religion.

    August 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  31. bash shitu

    i think capelo is right.becks should be crash out of the term.

    August 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  32. ikesco

    Nobody anwsered my question, how many english player have gone out of england to play in other big european club?, I think the answer is none. The only thing english fans know and brag about is there league and one or two players who are playing b/c there are foreigners in their club. Beckham is a goodman in his own sense, but never a legend when it comes to football. Capello made some mistake in S/A, but his comment about Beckham is the truth, when Beckham was at his prime, England didn't win the world or european cup. The english press knew exactly how to magnify players and statement and this is the reason why england will never win anything, the european cup inclusive. Please english fans and press just shut up and think for one minute.

    August 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  33. Tony


    Gary Lineker? Steve McManaman? Ever heard of them before? You must not have been following the game for very long.

    What's the deal with all the Beckham hate anyway? Nobody ever said he's the best in the sport... he's a very good player who, at his best, has a wicked right foot that can place a ball wherever he wants it... not many people in the world can do that... he's obviously past it now, but I would argue that he should definitely be in the conversation for a place in the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers... Capello did him wrong, and that's the bottom line

    August 12, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  34. Samuel Samson

    What CNN hasn't told you, is that Beckham in 98 was sent off for unproffessional behaviour in the 98 world cup, and became England's public enemy #1. He did the same thing again in 2002 world cup. As far as football goes, Beckham is a sports celebrity, not a world class player, and is only famous because of his previously unrivalled ability to score from freekicks and deliver good crosses. His time is over now though, and was over when he made the move to Major League Soccer. Even AC Milan don't want Beckham back; Capello was right to do what he did. Beckham's international career ended in 2006, and that's all there is to it. Capello made many bad decisions in the World Cup and the run-up to it, but setting Beckham straight is not one of the bad decisions.

    August 12, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  35. John

    u see the problem we have with english football/people is they don't say the fact or truth of any matter. Becks should have gone himself but somebody need to help him. U believe u are the best but the worst.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  36. Leo

    What so great has Beckham achieved as a soccer player in past 10 years aside from "selling T-shirts"? Real Madrid went down the drain after his arrival, and Becks was no inspiration as an English captain. Becks was gross overrated and overpaid! Capello's handling of the situation is wrong, I agree, but 35 sounds as a right age to retire from international soccer...

    August 12, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  37. Enrico

    Never considered Beckham a good soccer player, but looks good on photos and is one of the few brit citizens in the league. Capello had the courage to say what an experienced technician should do and act upon. By the way, for the chap that said he should go and sell pizza and ice-cream, well even that is still better than oily fish and chips sold on a dirty newspaper...enjoy the pizza kid, just as much as we all do.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  38. edda bonito

    Here in Portugal the supporters would show during the next appearance of the coach on the pitch the white handkerchief to him , waving him good bye.
    I always thought that he had class, but this attitude is not class but rubbish. Beckham represents english football of its best and is a role model for thousands of young football players and I hope that Capello will see the red card from the FA for this stupid and arrogant attitude.
    The people love Beckham and want to see him play. Send Capello back to Italy to the third division, maybe he can be of use there.

    August 12, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  39. Rebecca

    This is totally unprofessional and unethical behavior. Its rude, disrespectful, arrogant, and bitter. Anyone who knows soccer knows that Beckham is older then most players. He is completing his career that has been remarkable. Why not let him leave the club with a sense of gratitude, pride, and recognition? Why not be stoic and professional during an announcement with such an international interest then petty and bitter? I hope they remove this man from his position. I

    August 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  40. capellorulez

    Capello should have done this on day 1 as england coach the same way he did to becks in Real Madrid. Lucky he found some schmuck in the us to pay him 250m to kick a ball (how much t-shirts la galaxy has to sell to mexicans to recoup that?). Ferguson threw a shoe at becks in the ManU locker room for a reason - because he looks at himself too much in the mirror! He had 2 good years at ManU and that's it. After that he was just good for selling merchandise and he had to stick his nose in there to jinx england in wc 2010 did he. Well he's gone. Let's celebrate. Thank you Fabio.

    August 12, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  41. gef05

    "This is completely unbelievable. I hope the club announces Capello's sacking to the press without first informing him."

    Capello is national team coach for England – he's not with a club. And neither does Beckham play for a team in England (as your comment implies). He's currently in the States.

    August 12, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  42. Harry Charles

    I think the British are too egoistic. They dont realise that age catches up with everyoneon... even with Beckham and its time to accept that he is too old to play international games. Period. Like or not this is true.

    August 12, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  43. gef05


    "The english press knew exactly how to magnify players and statement and this is the reason why england will never win anything, the european cup inclusive."

    Liverpool, 2005. At least get your facts straight.

    August 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  44. Rex Magnus

    Becks is a legend! One of the best of the last 20 years in arguably! Anyone who doesn't realize that is a joke and has no business talking about football. I've seen him make countless amazing moves over the years when the pressure was on. Why do you think the saying "bend it like Beckham" came about? The rest of the England team isn't up to scratch however, and Cappelo is the wrong person to run that show as he is used to cushy gigs. It might have been wise to keep Becks as a super sub for another year to help the new players with his experience. England as a team, and country, is going down fast though. Too many foreigners plus a loss of pride and cultural adhesion are to blame. And the me, me, me culture.

    August 12, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  45. Chris Edward

    Lets not scrutinize the idea, but I'd join hands to question the execution. Any sportsman who'd served his country deserves a better treatment.

    August 12, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Reply
  46. Damian

    Becks deserves it once he is fit.

    August 13, 2010 at 12:38 am | Reply
  47. jorgen friis

    David Beckham has served clubs and country with skills and loyalty over many years. His contributions at various levels have been immense. Yes,
    we are all getting older and Becks no exception. With emphasis on developing younger players one can sympathize with the fact Becks, getting bit long in the tooth, may need to be replaced. But the way Capello
    went about it says much about the man himself and nothing good. Is this the way to thank someone who is an Icon and over the many years has meant so much to football worldwide? Capello's total lack of respect and courtesy visavis Becks is deplorable and speaks volumes of Capello's character. If he wants to develop respect and loyalty from the players then this surely is not the way to go about it,

    August 13, 2010 at 2:15 am | Reply
  48. Vikas

    @Steven First post, I SO AGREE with you,man
    perfect treatment as a payback, what is HE treating the legend like this, a mere comment against him deserves a capital punishment ..

    August 13, 2010 at 3:36 am | Reply
  49. mattabar

    Time for a new manager, goodbye

    August 13, 2010 at 4:53 am | Reply
  50. scotland

    So what's the big overrated player will no longer play for a highly overrated team, please next topic!

    August 13, 2010 at 11:25 am | Reply
  51. the pom i ave heard everything! becks is too old...eng is a team looking for something...and it is not an old news grabbing, tattooed and OLD t-shirt selling granpa. i ave said it!

    August 14, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  52. KGB

    Capello is classless.Have the common courtesy to tell someone they're canned before you tell the world.

    August 14, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  53. kalbo

    He thought Beckham is too old.... Let me remind him of the Dutch team that recently made use of 'old' van Bronckhorst (35) as the captain. Van Bronckhorst last performance was indeed the WC. Ooijer (36), a defender played Brasil... Not all 'oldies' are bad players. Coach van Marwijk was clever enough to see the pros and cons and made a great mix of different players with different qualities. Capello hasn't got that insight probably and will continue to blunder.... he should not coach an English team....

    August 15, 2010 at 4:49 am | Reply
  54. Germany

    Capello is a Grade A MUG. Simple as. I am sure most football fans agree that Beckham is too old to be part of England's future. This part fully logical and we all accept. The shocking part is HOW CAPELLO HANDLED IT. Surely, a man of Capello's experience and history should know some basic man management skills. A man of his knowledge and status should have spared a player of Beckham's legacy some dignity by informing his decision directly to the player first instead of the press. Beckham is one of England's finest players in the last decade. Surely he deserved a final farewell game given his contribution to the England national team. What Capello just did is equivalent to a unfeeling local firm boss sacking his employee without informing him. For a moment there, Capello behaved like a brainless man.

    August 15, 2010 at 8:55 am | Reply
  55. lionel liew


    August 15, 2010 at 10:06 am | Reply
  56. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    The issue of retirement from the game needs to be left to the player. The job of the coach is to train the boys who have been selected for national duty. Players not selected have also a duty to keep on training and remaining match fit for club and country. Justice has to be done to the talents one has been blessed with. Giving up on the advice of others would not be the best way of proceeding. After all, age is a mere number. Form and fitness are vital.

    August 15, 2010 at 11:30 am | Reply
  57. Kevin Mugo

    Beckham has been a player of all seasons why would Capello force this great player to wither. Capello should show some respect to this great player.

    August 17, 2010 at 7:20 am | Reply
  58. Granbo

    After the failure in the 2006 World Cup in Germany when Beckham was captain and resigned at the end of the tournament, after admitting his own personal performance in the tournament was poor, the chapter of Beckham's England career should have ended.The only mistake that Capello has made was being seduced by the irrational English devotion to the celebrity of Beckham and his money making potential.

    August 17, 2010 at 7:47 am | Reply
  59. Roger


    August 18, 2010 at 11:47 am | Reply
  60. musah fifa

    well Capello is wrong, but Beckham him self should know to quit before he's drop, he should announce by him self before they announce it for him, because his time is over,he should give chance for the young once to come in, and Capello is a big rubish, he tell's you that he is an Italian,tell him to go back to Italy and announce the retirement of Canavaro not Beckham in England, he didn't respect Beckham and England,it's a lesson for England to go for English manager,not this rubish Italian.

    August 19, 2010 at 9:20 am | Reply
  61. puddles

    Beckham seems a very nice chap but he has never to my mind at any time in his career been in the top 10 world players.
    He is a marketing creation and good luck to him. But you English have very short memories:
    1st World Cup...petulant lashing out...sent off...1 player short...bye bye England.
    2nd World Cup...Dodged a tackle that he thought was going out for a throw didn't go out...two passes later goal and bye bye England.
    Great player to have in your team to sell shirts and merchandise though and bums on seats in the USA but for real football fans he was past his best years ago.

    August 29, 2010 at 3:55 am | Reply

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