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By ESPN Staff

Juventus coach leaves behind scandal to join Real Madrid

TURIN, Italy -- Fabio Capello resigned Tuesday as coach of Juventus, leaving behind the match-fixing scandal that has embroiled Italy's top soccer clubs to take over Real Madrid.

Capello met Tuesday with officials from Juventus, which faces possible demotion to a lower division in the case that is now before a sports tribunal in Rome.

"The Juventus Football Club, taking note of Fabio Capello's choices, accepts his resignation and thanks him for the work he has done," the club said in a statement.

Capello's contract with Juventus was due to expire in 2007, but he took advantage of an escape clause, a spokesman for the Turin-based club said.

"His decision has nothing to do with the trial," Juventus spokesman Roberto Patriarca told The Associated Press. "He would have been happy to stay on as coach even if Juve were demoted. But it appears a more tempting offer has come along."

Real Madrid's incoming president Ramon Calderon later said that Capello will be announced as coach Thursday. Capello, who was manager of Madrid when it won the Spanish league title in the 1996-97 season, would be the ailing powerhouse's sixth coach in the last three years.

Capello joined Juventus from AS Roma in 2004 and led the team to two consecutive Serie A titles. The team might be stripped of those titles and demoted to Serie C or lower.

Juventus' former chief executive Antonio Giraudo and ex-general manager Luciano Moggi are at the center of the scandal that has rocked Italian soccer. The two resigned due to the scandal in May, along with the club's entire board.

Rumors that Capello would leave Juventus had circulated in Italy for weeks, and the club had already begun searching for a replacement. In June, officials met with former Juventus and France midfielder Didier Deschamps, who said he was interested in the job no matter what happens at the match-fixing trial.

"I told them that the club's sporting project interested me even if Juve were relegated," he said. "I am available and I am interested -- that's where we are."

Capello would be faced with the task of reviving the fortunes of a Madrid team that has not won any titles since 2003. He will also help to decide on the futures of David Beckham, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos.