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Inside Team Capello

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Simon Austin | 20:08 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

As the Football Association discovered when they first approached him in December 2007, Fabio Capello doesn't come alone but as part of a package.

To secure their man, the FA also had to take on Franco Baldini, Italo Galbiati, Franco Tancredi and Massimo Neri.

Team Capello was formed in 2001 and boasts a formidable range of skills and personalities.

Together they returned the Scudetto to Roma after an 18-year wait and whipped the underachieving galacticos into title-winning shape at Real Madrid in 2007.

Now they embark on their toughest challenge of all, to end 44 years of World Cup hurt for England.

At the heart of this inner circle is Baldini, England's suave general manager.

The 49-year-old is Capello's diametric opposite, an open and charming man whom the players feel able to confide in.

capellofab595.jpgFitness coach Massimo Neri and goalkeeping coach Franco Tancredi join Capello in training.

French midfielder Olivier Dacourt worked with Capello and Baldini at Roma and says they have a classic good-cop, bad-cop partnership.

"Capello makes you scared, but Franco is a very, very nice man," Dacourt told BBC Sport.

"You speak much more easily with Franco than with Capello, he is very gentle."

Mark Ryan, author of 'Fabio Capello: The Boss', argues that Baldini is essential to the effective functioning of the regime.

"I think he's absolutely massive and Capello might struggle with some of the diplomatic things and human relations without Franco," he told BBC Sport.

"He really is the supreme diplomat and if there's a difficult situation, he's the one who will smooth it over.

"He's very intelligent and perceptive and knows Capello's weaknesses and how to compensate for them."

With his excellent grasp of English, Baldini is also the man Capello uses as his go-between with the media, preferring to keep a distance himself.

Baldini had a decent playing career, including spells at Bari, Bologna and Pescari. One of his first clubs was the unfashionable Campobasso where, in a neat twist of fate, his manager was Tord Grip, the former England assistant.

At the end of his playing career, Baldini became an agent, utilising his scouting and networking skills.

capello_baldini595.jpgBaldini (left of centre) is Capello's main scout for England.

His first link-up with Capello was at Roma in 1999, where he was technical director, luring a succession of top players, including Gabriel Batistuta, Christian Chivu and Walter Samuel to the Olympic Stadium, as well as unearthing lesser-known gems such as Simone Perrotta and the Brazilian winger Mancini.

Capello still greatly values Baldini's talent-spotting abilities and uses him as his main scout for England. Indeed, Baldini was the first member of the England coaching set-up to truly recognise the international potential of Aston Villa midfielder James Milner, who is now a key part of Capello's World Cup squad.

When I first met Baldini, I was immediately struck by how impeccably turned out and charming he was, and it was no surprise to learn he was a cultured midfielder during his playing days.

However, Grip told me he was also able to look after himself, and this steely side of his character was evident at Roma, when he was one of the key witnesses in the corruption trial of Juventus director Luciano Moggi.

It was at this time that Capello and Baldini had their only major falling out.

When his name was linked with the vacant manager's job at Moggi's Juventus, Capello laughed off the possibility of a move to the Stadio Delle Alpi.

The first Baldini knew of his friend's defection was when he saw him being unveiled by Juve live on television.

They didn't speak for a year after that according to Ryan, but Capello managed to build bridges and persuade Baldini to join him at Real Madrid in 2006. They haven't looked back since.

However, Capello's closest confidante is still his 72-year-old assistant, Galbiati.

They first met in the late 1970s, when Capello was an international midfielder for AC Milan and Galbiati, himself a fomer Italy player, the club's youth team coach.

When Capello retired from playing in 1980, he got a job coaching Milan's under-17 side, and worked closely with under-19 boss Galbiati.

They forged a strong friendship and when Capello was the surprise choice to replace Arrigo Saachi as Milan head coach in 1991, Galbiati became his assistant.

They enjoyed immediate success, going unbeaten in their first 58 league games.

Probably their most famous result was the 4-0 demolition of Barcelona in the 1994 Champions League final, a match which proved how effective Galbiati could be at improving the technique of even the most experienced players.

After the game, Italian striker Daniele Massaro dedicated his two goals to the hours that Galbiati had invested in improving his left foot.

Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert, who worked with the stocky, silver-haired coach at Milan from 1997 to 1998, told BBC Sport: "He is a very good, persistent coach, doing everything Capello wants."

The most recent addition to Team Capello is 50-year-old Neri, who was recruited at Roma in 2001.

The studious, bespectacled Italian first made a name for himself at Lecce in the mid-1980s, but his most spectacular results were at Real Madrid, where he transformed a group of unfit galacticos into a crack unit, enabling them to win their first league title for four years in 2006/7.

The final member of the quartet is Tancredi, England's tall, languid goalkeeping coach.

The 55-year-old made 228 appearances for Roma, including the 1984 European Cup final against Liverpool, in which Bruce Grobbelaar performed his legendary spaghetti legs routine.

He also won 12 caps for Italy and understudied Walter Zenga at the 1990 World Cup.

Tancredi was goalkeeping coach at Roma until 2004 and then followed Capello to Juventus. The FA were initially sceptical about taking him on, preferring to keep Ray Clemence as keeping coach, but Capello was insistent and, unsurprisingly, got his way.

Now Clemence is Tancredi's assistant and the likes of David James are in no doubt about who is in charge. England fans will be hoping the 55-year-old's reputation as a penalty-saving specialist pays dividends this summer.

And while Capello is likely to receive most of the plaudits should England exceed expectations in South Africa, he'll know he couldn't have done it without the help of his four trusted lieutenants.

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