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Russian team’s footballers bid farewell to ex-coach Capello, present him with painting

July 17, 2015, 13:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The players had a farewell dinner with the 69-year-old Italian manager
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© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. Russian national football team’s players met with their former Head Coach Fabio Capello to bid him farewell and presented him with a painting by a famous Russian artist, a source close to the team told TASS on Friday.

The source said the players had a farewell dinner with the 69-year-old Italian manager, who parted with the team earlier in the week, in Moscow on Thursday night.

"Footballers presented Capello with a painting of a famous Russian painter and gave his wife a huge bouquet of flowers," the source said.

The RFU announced on Tuesday that it reached a mutual agreement with Capello on the early termination of the contract with the Italian specialist concerning his work in the capacity of the national team’s head coach. Earlier media reports estimated the compensation for RFU’s severance of the contract with Capello at €15 million, but Mutko denied the reports.

A source close to the RFU told TASS on Wednesday that Capello’s compensation would amount to 6 million euros ($6.6 million) and additional two million euros would be paid to his coaching staff.

Besides Italians Capello and his aide Oreste Cinquini, the coaching staff of the Russian national football team included other Italian specialists. They are: head coach’s assistants Christian Panucci and Italo Galbiati, who worked since July 2012 and until the autumn of 2014, and fitness trainer Massimo Nerri, who was part of the staff also between July 2012 and the autumn of 2014.

Moreover, as part of the team’s preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil more Italians were brought to Capello’s coaching squad and they are: physical therapist Mario Rugio and fitness coach Antonio Pintus. Italy’s Nicola Bertoni and Cristiano Ciardelli were invited as scouts for the national team ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Following Russia’s 0-1 defeat to Austria in the 2016 Euro Cup qualifier in Moscow on June 14, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko announced that the fate of Italian manager Capello at the helm of the national football team would be decided in the nearest future.

Qualifier’s defeat in Moscow in mid-June placed in extreme jeopardy Russia’s chances of travelling to France in 2016 for the Euro Cup. The Russian national team is now ranked 3rd in its qualifying Group G with 8 points below 2nd ranked Sweden (12 points), while the Austrian team increased its lead over the rest of the five national teams in the group to 16 points.

National team’s defeat on June 14 raised a storm of criticism not only among the football fans and sports experts, but among Russian politicians as well.

Italian phenomenon Capello took over the national team as the head coach in July of 2012 and managed to help the Russian squad to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The team, however, failed to clear the first stage of the much-anticipated global tournament putting their coach in the center of stern criticism and raising serious concerns in the country about the team’s performance in the next World Cup, which would be hosted by Russia in 2018.

Russia did not sever the contract with Capello after the national team’s weak performance at the World Cup in Brazil and the Italian manager also decided to stay with the Russian squad as the head coach until the year of 2018 as stipulated by the contract terms.

Russia’s daily Novaya Gazeta published in late April a copy of a contract inked by the RFU with Italian manager Capello in January of 2014.

In line with the document, which was signed until July 2018 and stipulated an annual salary of 7 million euros ($7.6 million) for the Italian coach, the RFU practically had no rights of severing the contract unilaterally without paying a penalty, while Capello was granted such opportunity.

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