Capello: ‘I would say just one thing to De Rossi…..’


Former Roma manager Fabio Capello says Daniele De Rossi must ‘enjoy the positive aspect’ of the Giallorossi’s match with Bayer Leverkusen. Capello was speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport about the Italian teams’ progress in Europe season, and explained why he is more worried about Olympiacos than Leverkusen in the finals of the Europa and Conference Leagues:

“Two teams and three Italian coaches in the finals of the European Cups. Another feat after that of last season: it’s not a coincidence, quite the opposite. We Italians remain more tactically skilled in preparing for matches.”

“It would be nice to see a triplet of Italian coaches: Ancelotti lifting the Champions League with Real Madrid, Gasperini winning the Europa League with Atalanta, and Italiano triumphing in the Conference with Fiorentina. For Coverciano, it would be like winning a Ballon d’Or.”

A year ago we had three teams in the three European finals and they all suffered defeats: what are your feelings now for Atalanta and Fiorentina?

“I am confident. And, even though it might seem strange considering the opponents, I am more worried for Fiorentina than for Atalanta. The Viola face Olympiacos in Athens, albeit in the AEK stadium and not their own. But Greek fans are passionate, and it will be a madhouse. The hope is that Olympiacos will feel the pressure more than necessary.”

Atalanta will face Bayer Leverkusen, the German champions, still undefeated this season, on May 22nd: what is the basis for your confidence in La Dea?

“I trust Gasperini and Atalanta, a team that can trouble any opponent. It’s no coincidence they won 3-0 at Anfield and eliminated Liverpool, who was considered the favorite in the Europa League. Leverkusen has superior quality, and all these results have given them confidence and belief. However…”


“Being favorites doesn’t always give an advantage. With Milan in 1993, we reached the Champions League final against Marseille after a flawless journey. And then, a corner kick was enough to lose the final. Football is like that, it’s never guaranteed. Atalanta has grown exponentially and continues to do so: they won’t arrive naïve against the Germans. I believe in them, but the Nerazzurri will need a very focused performance.”

What has been Gasperini’s masterpiece this season?

“What he achieved with De Ketelaere and Scamacca is commendable. Gasperini has done good for Atalanta and also for Italy: now we have a good center forward for the Euros.”

How much would the Europa League mean for Atalanta?

“Like a Champions League. I’m confident, and I would love Scamacca to be the one sealing it.”

Fiorentina will try again in the Conference on May 29th after last year’s disappointment in the final against West Ham: can the repeat attempt give advantages to the Viola?

“Fiorentina arrives at the appointment with more experience and after a good European journey. In the league, they have alternated between exhilarating moments and complicated ones. Italiano has earned another final, and this time I hope he finds the right keys to beat Olympiacos and lift the Cup. But beware of underestimating the Greeks. And I say this not only because it’s in Athens.”

What worries you the most about Olympiacos?

“The Greeks eliminated Aston Villa, one of the revelations of the Premier League led by Emery. The Spanish coach is used to reaching the finals and lifting trophies: he has won the Europa League four times with Sevilla (3) and Villarreal (1). And in 2019, when he was with Arsenal, he lost in the final against Sarri’s Chelsea.”

De Rossi, your pupil back in the Roma days, only came close to the Europa League final: what message would you send to the Roma coach after the 2-2 in Leverkusen?

“I would only say one thing to Daniele: enjoy the positive aspect of the almost comeback at the Germans’ home. De Rossi is at the beginning of his coaching career, and these nights are part of the journey. We’ve all been through it.”


Serie A obsessive.