Capello’s hideaway exudes Real appeal
A ski resort? Is this a World Cup or Winter Olympics? Ah, but this is not any ski resort, this is Irdning, Fabio Capello’s favourite training destination. He went there with Roma and Real Madrid.
A spot for galacticos, then? Real spent five pre-season camps on the trot there. Once it was double booked by Plymouth, and Real paid all their tour costs in exchange for them moving to another hotel, and played them in a friendly, too. What’s so special? Snow-capped mountains, and the secluded five-star Hotel Schloss Pichlarn, with tight security and an 18-hole golf course. The hotel, where a junior suite costs £350 a night, also boasts swimming pools, a castle spa, large gym, private dining area, gaming room, saunas and steam rooms.
Is it a bit of a jolly, then? Definitely not. Irdning’s Top Dance nightclub, where model Nathalie Sterchele claimed to have spent an evening chatting with David Beckham, will be strictly out of bounds.
Is the entertainment good? Jimmy Bullard once gave a chorus of Old MacDonald to Real’s galacticos in the bar on a ‘borrowed’ mandolin.
You mention mountains? England’s first World Cup match against the United States is in Rustenburg, nearly 5,000 feet above sea level. Irdning is about 2,200ft but it certainly beats Arsenal’s London Colney. Will the training facilities be as good? ATV Irdning may play in the Austrian fourth division but are in the big league when it comes to pitches. So, England are stealing a march on their rivals? No. Favourites Spain are in Schruns-Tschagguns, while Holland are in the ski resort of Seefeld. Also heading to Austria are Germany, Denmark, Turkey, the Czech Republic and Cameroon among others.