Fabio Capello, English National Team Manager: American Hero
An alternate title for this article could easily be "Fabio Capello: International Villain."
Why? He robbed the sporting world of one of the best soccer players on the planet—David Beckham.
Hold your typing in that comment box for a moment...yes, I know that Beckham has lost more than a step over the years. He is obviously no longer a player that can dominate a game. But he is still a player that can change a game with a single kick.
His free kicks are still world-class—maybe still the best. His passing is still incredible. His leadership skills, particularly needed on the English national team, have grown considerably over the years.
So why is Fabio an "American Hero?" Easy...the United States opens World Cup group play against England. Fabio managed to personally weaken our opponent—I love him!
Right now you're saying, "But Smitty, I saw the replay—Fabio wasn't on the field when Beckham went down. I don't think he kicked him or anything."
Astute observation. Fabio was not directly responsible for Beckham's completely torn Achilles' tendon.
Here's the rub.
Fabio Capello forced a 34 year old man to play high-level soccer non-stop for 15 months in an effort to "earn" his way onto England's World Cup team. This was criminal.
Was he thinking, "Eh, who is this cat they call Beckham...not familiar with him...wonder if he can play."
David Robert Joseph Beckham, he of the too many tattoos, the annoying wife, the plastic lifestyle, and the obnoxiously in-your-face underwear ads, was one of England's all-time great soccer players. He was keeping fit. He badly and sincerely wanted to play. England needed him on the team. Maybe not as a starter, but as a late-game boost with a match on the line.
Gone, because Fabio wanted to test Beckham's commitment. He basically pushed Beckham into hopping between L.A. and Italy for almost two years. Does America's newest hero not know that bodies need rest? That 34 year old bodies need more rest, not more play, to keep fit?
David Beckham will now almost certainly miss the World Cup. That is the a net loss for the world, but a gain for the U.S.
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