Capello plays down talk of Chelsea link

Former England manager Fabio Capello – now in charge of the Russia national team – has denied any knowledge of talk he is in the frame to become the next permanent manager of Chelsea, Sky Sports has reported.

Capello is with the Russian squad in Northern Ireland ahead of the match between the countries on Friday, and will then travel to London to play Brazil in a friendly at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground.

But the Italian, who spent four years as England manager, insists there is no truth in the speculation that he is angling to replace Rafael Benitez this summer. “ I know nothing about this. I am really happy with Russia and focused to qualify for the World Cup,” Capello said.

In charge of the Russian national team since July 2012, and paid £7m per year for his services, Capello has led Russia to the top of Group F with four wins in a row to start the qualification campaign. The rest of the group contains not only Northern Ireland, but also Portugal, Israel, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.

Capello replaced Steve McClaren as England manager after the Three Lions missed out on qualification for the 2008 European Championships. A title winner with Milan, Real Madrid, Roma and Juventus, Capello took England to the World Cup in 2010 and clinched qualification for Euro 2012 without losing a game in qualifying, only to resign shortly before the tournament in protest at the FA’s decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy.

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