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Jul 6, 2006

Capello aims to rediscover Real's lost spirit

MADRID, July 6 (Reuters) - New coach Fabio Capello said he wanted to restore a lost spirit to Real Madrid after signing a three-year contract on Thursday.

'I'm really looking forward to working with this club,' the 60-year-old Italian told reporters. 'I'm convinced this is the most important club in the world.

'We have to win trophies and to do that we have to work hard, be humble and rediscover the spirit of Real Madrid. I think we have lost that spirit in recent years.'

Club president Ramon Calderon said the nine-times European champions had signed the former Juventus coach because of the way he revived Real during his first spell a decade ago.

'Contracting Fabio Capello was an obsession of mine because he is a born winner,' said Calderon.

'The 1996-97 season when he took over a team in crisis is fixed in my memory. He took over a team that came sixth in the league and led it to the championship.

'He also laid the foundations for the team that won the European Cup in 1998.'

Calderon said he would not involve himself in Capello's work with the players.

'Capello and (sporting director Predrag) Mijatovic will work together without any interference from me or the rest of the board,' he said.

DISCIPLINE

'He is here to restore the self-esteem of the players, to instil order and discipline and give them necessary affection too. It is a difficult task but he is a master of this art.'

Capello said one of his first tasks would be to demand more commitment from a squad of players that includes high-profile figures such as Ronaldo, David Beckham, Robinho and Raul.

'We in football are extremely lucky to work just two hours a day and my view is that you have to give 100 percent during that time,' he said.

'We need athletes in the team. The fans can't stand players who don't run on the pitch. They must understand that you can't win games just because you wear the white shirt of Real Madrid.'

Calderon became Real's president this week following a controversial victory in an election marred by bitter personal disputes and confusion over the validity of the postal vote.

He has said he will try to sign several players to strengthen the squad and has targeted AC Milan midfielder Kaka, Chelsea winger Arjen Robben and Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas.

A host of other names, in particular players from Capello's former club Juventus, have also been linked to the club. Italian champions Juve face relegation next week when a sports tribunal decides punishments at a match-fixing trial.

'We are working to put together a great squad full of quality players that will win trophies,' said Capello.

'Given what is happening in Italy at the moment I think everybody will be on the look-out for Juventus and Milan players.

'A lot of clubs are hoping that they will be relegated. You only have to look at Sunday's World Cup final, there will be eight Juve players out there.'