MOSCOW, Russia, July 26 – Former England boss Fabio Capello signed a contract on Thursday as manager of the Russian national football squad with a mission to qualify the team for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The 66-year-old Italian signed the deal in Moscow with the Russian Football Union for an undisclosed sum. News reports had said Capello was negotiating a two-year agreement with the possibility of an extension.
Capello will pick a team in poor spirits after a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign that saw Russia fail to progress out of the group stage and become mired in scandal involving its talismanic captain Andrei Arshavin.
Calls for the midfielder to be stripped of his captaincy rang out across the media this summer after Arshavin was taped saying he saw no reason to apologise for the Euro performance and suggesting that players were happy to be going home.
Capello had firm words for Arshavin’s behaviour.
“I will talk to him and inquire where this lack of love for the fans — this lack of love for the Russian shirt — comes from,” Capello told reporters at a news conference where his comments in Italian were translated into Russian.
He also hinted of a new approach involving international recruits to the national squad who could assume Russian citizenship in a bid to help rejuvenate the veteran side.
“One should not forget that teams like Germany and Italy have players with dual nationalities,” Capello said.
“Spain has those players as well — and they are champions,” he said.