Friday 15 December 2017

Fabio Capello to miss son's wedding for England V Spain game

Sam Wallace

FABIO Capello has his best player banned for three games at Euro 2012, his captain at the centre of racist abuse allegations and his team facing the world champions Spain at Wembley on Saturday, but it emerged yesterday that the England manager is also in trouble at home – he is missing his son's wedding this weekend.

Capello's younger son Pierfilippo, 36, is marrying his long-term partner Tiziana in Milan on Saturday which clashes with England's game against Spain. The match was originally scheduled for Friday but Spain insisted that it was moved back to give their Barcelona contingent more time to recover from tonight's Copa del Rey game against L'Hospitalet. The rules oblige Barcelona to play at least seven recognised first-team players.

The negotiations between the FA and the Spanish federation were overseen by Capello's former general manager, Franco Baldini, who now occupies a similar role at Roma but continues to work for the FA unpaid. Capello did not tell Baldini about Pierfilippo's wedding until after arrangements were put in place for the game.

Last night, Pierfilippo, a sports lawyer who works in Milan and negotiated his father's contract with the FA four years ago, said that the family had been able to see the funny side of Fabio's absent-mindedness in telling his employers about his personal commitments. Pierfilippo already has two daughters with Tiziana and as a result his strictly Catholic father has intimated that the wedding itself, in Milan, is only a "formalising" ceremony.

While Capello's wife Laura will be in Milan for the wedding, Baldini will be travelling in the opposite direction to work alongside Capello for the games against Spain, and Sweden on Tuesday. Capello said that he had explained to his family that he could not be there. "It's OK," he said yesterday. "We're playing on Saturday. There's nothing that can be done."

Pierfilippo told The Independent: "It [Capello missing the wedding] is not a problem, absolutely not. He is a football manager first; he has been that ever since I was a child and sometimes being a football manager can make strange demands on your time. You just have to accept that.

"It will be a beautiful ceremony and a beautiful party. We will all toast him sitting there on the bench at Wembley and look forward to him coming to join us for the celebrations after the games."

With the Sweden game just three days after the match against Spain, Capello will not be returning to Milan in the interim. He has given the England players Sunday off to relax and they will be expected to report back at around 6pm that evening. They meet up tonight at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire and train for the first time tomorrow.

Capello voiced his fears in an interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca yesterday that he was facing the best team in the world on Saturday without many of his best players. It is still anticipated that Capello will lose Phil Jagielka tomorrow after the Everton defender reports with a broken toe that has required injections in it in order to play.

Capello told Marca: "It's a difficult test, but for me the important thing in this game is to know the value of some of my players. I will play new kids. It is important to know the potential of these. Also interesting is that we play at Wembley. We're playing better away than at home. At Wembley we have more pressure, it's like we play against our own fans. I want to see the team's response.

"On top of that we're playing Spain without any players. We are without [Wayne] Rooney, [Steven] Gerrard and [John] Terry. We will do the best we can. I'm worried about how we deal with Cesc Fabregas. He's a great player."

Who is Capello Jr? Pierfilippo in brief

Pierfilippo Capello is 36 years old.

The England manager's son is a sports lawyer, based in Milan. He is also the lawyer and agent to his father.

He helped negotiate Fabio's deal with the Football Association to bring him to England.

He already has two children with long-term partner Tiziana, whom he is marrying on Saturday.

On his father: "He has won a lot, but he never celebrates. He doesn't care about celebrations. He goes on holiday, yes. But there are no parties. To him, [winning] is just part of his job."

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