Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Greatest All-Time Team under Fabio Capello (club only)

1994 Chamoions' League with AC Milan

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for Fabio Capello (club only).  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.  

Fabio Capello is regarded one of the most successful coaches of all-time.  In his first five seasons as a manager, Capello won four Serie A titles with AC Milan, where he also won the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, defeating Barcelona 4–0 in a memorable final. He then spent a year at Real Madrid, where he won the La Liga title at his first attempt, and in 2001 led Roma to their first league title in 18 years. Capello also won two titles at Juventus (which were later stripped after the Calciopoli scandal), and in 2006 returned to Real Madrid, where he won another La Liga title. Overall, he has won a major league championship in seven (or nine, counting the two revoked titles with Juventus) of his 16 seasons as a coach. He also coached the national teams of both England and Russian.



Team
GK: Iker Casillas (Spain/Real Madrid)
Iker Casillas is Spain's most decorated goalkeeper and one of the greatest goalkeeper ever played the game. He started with Real Madrid in 1999.  He won three Champions' League with Real Madrid.  For Spain, he captained Spain into winning the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.  He is capped over 150 times.

GK: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus)
Gianluigi Buffon is considered to be one of the greatest keeper ever.  He made his Serie A debut at the age of 17 in 1995 with Parma.  He earned his first cap when he was only 19.  He had a total of 175 caps. His biggest achievement must be winning the World Cup in 2006.  He has been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record eight time. He became the most expensive goalkeeper of all time following his transfer from Parma to Juventus in 2001.  He moved to PSG in 2019.

GK: Sebastiano Rossi (Italy/AC Milan)  
Sebastiano Rossi started with Cesena.  He spent 12 seasons in AC Milan from 1999 to 2002, winning the 1994 Champions' league in convincingly fashion.  He was called up by Italy, but was never capped, despite being a top Italian goalkeeper.

RB: Cafu (Brazil/Roma) 
Cafu is the all-time cap record holder for Brazil.  He is the only man to play in three WC Finals, winning in 1994 and 2002.  He was the captain of the national team as they won the World Cup in 2002.  He played with Sao Paulo, Roma and AC Milan. He was South American Player of the Year in 1994. 

RB/CB:  Lilian Thuram (Italy/Juventus)
Thuram is France's most capped player. He played in France, Italy and Spain for over 15 seasons, including ten in the Serie A with both Parma and Juventus. With France, Thuram won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, and was in the runner-up squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.  He scored two goals vs Croatia in the semifinal of the WC in 1998. 

CB:  Fernando Hierro (Spain/Real Madrid)
At one point, Hierro was Spain's all-time leading scorer and he was a center-back.  He was capped 90 times between 1989 and 2002, whilst appearing in four World Cups and two European Championships. For Real Madrid, he won three Champions' League titles.  He is considered to be Spain's greatest defenders.

CB: Fabio Cannavaro (Italy/Juventus/Real Madrid)
Fabio Cannavaro was the captain and perhaps, the best player of the 2006 World Cup winning team.  He was one of the few defensive players to have won the Ballon Dd'or.  He played for many clubs in his career, but his best years were with Parma, Juventus and Real Madrid.

CB: Alessandro Costacurta (Italy/AC Milan)
Alessandro Costacurta was Franco Baresi's partner at central defense for both club and country. He was a long term serving member of AC Milan.  He was a part of 5 Champions' League winning team for AC Milan.  However, internationally, he only played 59 times for Italy largely because of injuries. He went to both 1994 and 1998 World Cup Finals.

SW: Franco Baresi (Italy/AC Milan)
Franco Baresi was considered Italy's greatest libero.  He was capped 82 times.  He led the Azzurri to the semifinal of the World Cup in 1990 and then, the Final in 1994.  However, he missed most of the tournament in 1994.  He was the captain of AC Milan for 15 years, where he won three European Cups and 6 Serie A titles. 
Franco Baresi

CB/LB: Paolo Maldini (Italy/AC Milan)
Maldini was considered the greatest leftback of all-time.  He won 26 trophies in his 25 year career with AC Milan, including 5 Champions' league trophies. With the Azzurri, Maldini took part in three European Championships, and four World Cups. He reached the finals of the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000. He was capped 126 times for Italy.  

LB: Roberto Carlos (Brazil/Real Madrid)
He was regarded one of the best leftbacks in history.  He had 125 caps for Brazil playing in three WC Finals. He won 3 Champions League titles with Real Madrid and one World Cup title with Brazil in 2002.  In 1997 he was runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year.  He is especially famous for a free kick from 35m out against France in the  Tournoi de France 1997. The goal is considered one of the greatest goals ever scored.
Roberto Carlos

CB/DM:  Marcel Desailly (France/AC Milan)
Marcel Desailly was considered to be one of the greatest defensive players during the 1990's.  He played 116 times for France, winning the WC in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.  He was the first player to win the European Cup in consecutive seasons with different clubs, when he won it with Marseille in 1993 and AC Milan the following year.

CM: Fernando Redondo (Argentina/Real Madrid)
Fernando Redondo played his first game at 16 for Argentinos Juniors before moving abroad to CD Tenerife in Spain.  He joined Real Madrid in 1994, where he would become one of the best central midfielders in Real Madrid's history.  He won two Champions' League with them. For the national team, he only picked up 29 caps because he had issues with various managers.
Fernando Redondo
DM/CM: Emerson (Brazil/Roma/Juventus/Real Madrid)
For nearly a decade, Emerson was a key player for Brazil.  He was due to captain the 2002 side, but an injury right before the Finals kept him out of the tournament.  He went to the WC Finals in 1998 and 2006. He played for Gremio, Bayer Leverkusen, Roma, Juventus, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Santos.

CM: Frank Rijkaard (Holland/AC Milan)
Rijkaard was one of Holland's most important player. Capped 73 times.  He won the 1988 European Championship. He spent 5 seasons with AC Milan where he won two European Cup with them. In 1995, he led a young Ajax team to their famous Champions' League victory.  That team is also considered one of the greatest club sides ever.

RW: Roberto Donadoni (Italy/AC Milan)
Donadoni was one of Italy's greatest wingers.  He was a vital part of Milan's squad under both Sacchi and Capello, winning six Serie A titles, three European Cups, four Italian Supercups, three European Super Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups during his time at Milan. He went to the World Cup  Finals in 1990 and 1994.

LW/AM: Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic/Juventus)
Nicknamed "Czech Fury", Nedved was a key player as the Czech Republic finished second at Euro 1996, and reached the semi-final at Euro 2004.  For club football, he is best remembered for playing for Lazio and Juvnetus.  At Lazio, he won the Scudetti in 1999-2000, only the second league title in Lazio's history.  With Juventus, he led the team to the Final of the 2002-2003 Champions' League final. He won the European Footballer of the that year.

AM/LM: Francesco Totti (Rome/Lazio)
Totti is the long serving captain of Roma.  He brought the scudetti back to Roma in 2001 after 20 years.  He was named the Italian Footballer of the Year for 2000 and 2001. He won the European Golden Boot award in 2006-2007.  He won a World Cup with Italy in 2006. 

AM: Alessandro Del Piero (Italy/Juventus)
He is considered to be one of Juventus' greatest players. He played with them for 19 years (11 years as captain), and holds the club records for most goals (289) and appearances (705).  For the national team, he played 91 times for them.  He was on the 2006 team that won the World Cup in Germany.

AM: Dejan Savicevic (Montenegro/AC Milan)
He was a part of the Red Star Belgrade team that won the 1990–91 European Cup before joining A.C. Milan in 1992. With Milan, he won three Serie A titles and the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League. He represented Yugoslavia at the 1990 and 1998 FIFA World Cups.
Dejan Savicevic

AM: Ruud Gullit (Holland/AC Milan)
He was the iconic captain of Holland 1988.  In 1987,  he moved from PSV Eindhoven to A.C. Milan for a world record transfer fee.  He was an important player for AC Milan during the 1980's where they won two straight European Cups. He was the European Footballer of the Year in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989.  He spent one season with Sampdoria winning the Italian Cup in 1994.

FWGeorge Weah (Liberia/AC Milan) 
In terms of individual awards, no African player wins more awards than him.  He was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or in 1995.  He won African Footballer of the Year: 1989, 1994, 1995.  He was voted African Player of the Century in 1996.  He had great careers with AC Milan where he won two Serie A titles. He also played for Monaco, PSG, Chelsea, etc.  In 2017, he was elected as the President of Liberia.

ST: Raul (Spain/Real Madrid)
Raul was probably the best Spanish player in the late 1990's.  Raul made his debut with Real Madrid as a 17 years old.  He won 3 Champions' League trophies with Real Madrid in 1998, 2000 and 2002.  He moved to Germany in 2010 and played with Schalke 04 He is the fourth highest goal scorer in the history of La Liga with 228 goals.  For the national team, he earned 102 caps.

ST:  Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina/Roma)
Gabriel Batistuta is the current top-scorer for Argentina.  He first gained international recognition when Argentina won the Copa America in 1991 where he finished as the top scorer. He earned a move to Fiorentina spending the next 9 seasons there while becoming their all-time leading scorer.  In 2000, he moved to Roma and won the scudetto in his first season. He played 77 times for Argentina.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

ST:  Marco Van Basten (Holland/AC Milan)
Marco Van Basten was probably the second best Dutch player and among the best striker in football's history.  He won the Ballon d'Or three times.  He led Oranje to the victory at Euro 1988 scoring 5 goals at the tournament.  He started his career with Ajax.  He also won two European Cups with AC Milan, a team that was considered among the greatest ever.
Van Basten

Honorable Mention
Demetrio Albertini (AC Milan), Robertio Baggio (AC Milan),  Mauro Tassotti (AC Milan), Jean Pierre Papin (AC Milan), Zvonimir Boban (AC Milan), Christian Panucci (AC Milan, Real Madrid, Roma), Marco Delvecchio (Roma), Walter Samuel (Roma), Vincenzo Montella (Roma), Damiano Tommasi (Roma), Antonio Cassano (Roma), Gianluca Zambrotta (Juventus), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Juventus), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid), Davor Zuker (Real Madrid), David Beckham (Real Madrid), Wesley Sneijder (Real Madrid).

Squad Explanation
-- Only player who played for Capello at the club level are considered.
-- Capello employed a lot of great attack midfielders.  Del Piero and Totti were icons of their clubs respectively.  I have no space for Roberto Baggio who did not have his best time while at AC Milan.
-- Emerson might not be the most famous players who played for him, but he was Capello's important player. He played for him with Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid.
-- Christian Panucci also played for Capello with AC Milan, Real Madrid and Roma.  However, I selected Cafu and Thuram over him. Both players have better name recognition. Besides, I felt that Tassotti was Capello's main rightback with AC Milan.  Mauro Tassotti also deserved to be on the team.
-- Zlatan Ibrahimović was a young striker under Capello.  I selected more established player over him.
-- Sergio Ramos was also young in 2006-2007 when he played for Capello.
-- Capello coached Real Madrid for the 1996-1997 season(He would rejoin them for the 2006-2007 season).  Although Capello did not win a Champions' League with Real Madrid, he built the backbone of the team that won the Champions' League the following season.  In that season, Capello brought Roberto Carlos, Predrag Mijatović, Davor Šuker, Christian Panucci, Clarence Seedorf and Bodo Illnger to Real Madrid.  Five of them started against Juventus in the 1998 Final. Real Madrid also won the 2000 and 2002 Champions league, but both teams were different from the ones built by Fabio Capello.
-- Roma's scudetti winning season with Capello was the club's greatest achievement in recent years.
-- Marco Van Basten did not win the European Cup playing under Capello, but he won the Ballon d'or and FIFA World Player of the Year while playing for him.

Formation
-- This formation is based upon the 4-4-2 formation in which Fabio Capello used to defeat Barcelona 4-0 in the Champions League Final in 1994.  It was the crowning moment of his career.
-- I toyed with the idea of starting both Baresi and Costacurta, but I opted to pair Cannavaro with Baresi.
-- Donadoni started ahead of more famous players because he was a vital part of Capello's successes at AC Milan.  He is also the only right wing on this team.
-- I reunited Ruud Gullit with Marco Van Basten rather then starting Dejan Savicevic. 
-- In 1994, Capello started Albertini. On my formation, I replaced him with Redondo.  Redondo was more tactical sound than Albertini.  He added defensive quality to the midfield as well as playmaking ability.






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