Chelsea news

Capello plays down Chelsea link

March 4, 2013
By Kevin Palmer

Russia coach Fabio Capello has denied that he has been offered the opportunity to take over as manager of Chelsea.

Fabio Capello yells instructions during Russia's 1-0 win over Portugal
PA PhotosFabio Capello yells instructions during Russia's 1-0 win over Portugal in October

The odds on Capello stepping into the breach at Chelsea have been tumbling over the last couple of days, amid rumours that club officials have made initial contact with the Italian's representatives as they look to bring an end to Rafael Benitez's unpopular reign as Blues boss.

Reports have suggested that Capello's reputation for being a no-nonsense manager makes him the ideal candidate to take on a dressing room that has proved to be a challenging mix for a succession of managers, but he has insisted his focus is trained on Russia's 2014 World Cup qualifying push.

"I am only thinking about reaching the World Cup with Russia," stated the 66-year-old in an Italian radio interview. "At the moment, I am not thinking about anything else. I have received no offer."

Capello was heavily linked with the Chelsea post during and after his spell as England boss, with his decision to resign the highly paid position with the Football Association linked to his support for Blues skipper John Terry - winning him plenty of praise at Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho remains the bookies' favourite to return to Chelsea this summer, with Capello now installed as second favourite. Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini, Everton's David Moyes and Brighton manager Gus Poyet are also believed to be leading contenders.

Gianfranco Zola's name continues to be linked with the Chelsea post as Roman Abramovich is known to be a huge admirer of the player who starred for the club between 1996 and 2003, but the current Watford boss is still considered to be an outsider.