UltimateXI Profile: Fabio Cannavaro

By Sports Desk April 23, 2020
Fabio Cannavaro Fabio Cannavaro

Fabio Cannavaro is considered to be one of the greatest defenders of all time, spending the majority of his career in Italy. He started at Napoli, before spending seven years at Parma, with whom he won two Coppa Italia titles, the 1999 Supercoppa Italiana, and the 1999 UEFA Cup.

After spells at Internazionale and Juventus, he transferred along with manager Fabio Capello from Juventus to Real Madrid in 2006, with whom he won consecutive La Liga titles in 2007 and 2008.

As a youngster, Cannavaro played for a team from Bagnoli before being quickly spotted by the scouts of Napoli, his hometown and favourite childhood team. Cannavaro initially served as the club's ball boy and would often watch his idols Diego Maradona and Ciro Ferrara play; he later joined the club's youth team.

He gained a reputation when, in a training session at Napoli, the young Fabio produced a strong tackle on Maradona, who was then the undisputed star of the club. The rough challenge angered teammates and staff at Napoli; Maradona himself, however, defended the promising player and encouraged him to play the way he wanted.

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Playing Career

Full name            Fabio Cannavaro


Date of birth          13 September 1973 (age 46)

Place of birth                Naples, Italy

Height   1.75 m (5 ft 9 in


International team

1997–2010       Italy      136


UEFA European Under-21 Championship: 1994, 1996

FIFA World Cup: 2006

FIFA World Cup 2006: Silver Ball

FIFA World Cup 2006: Team of the Tournament

UEFA Under-21 Championship Golden Player: 1996

UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 2000



FIFA World Cup appearances: 4

Quarter-finals        France 1998

Round of 16           South Korea 2002

Winner                   Germany 2006

 First Round           South Africa 2010


Club Career

1992–1995       Napoli  58  (1)

1995–2002       Parma  212       (5)

2002–2004       Internazionale 50  (2)

2004–2006       Juventus    74  (6)

2006–2009       Real Madrid     94  (0)

2009–2010       Juventus    27  (0)

2010–2011       Al-Ahli 16  (2)



UEFA Cup: 1998–99

Coppa Italia: 1998–99, 2001–02

Supercoppa Italiana: 1999

Real Madrid

La Liga: 2006–07, 2007–08




FIFA World Player of the Year: 2006

Ballon d'Or: 2006

World Soccer Player of the Year: 2006

Serie A Footballer of the Year: 2006

FIFPro World XI: 2006

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  • Juve should show some faith in under-fire Pirlo, says Cannavaro Juve should show some faith in under-fire Pirlo, says Cannavaro

    Juventus knew exactly what they were getting when hiring Andrea Pirlo and would be wrong twice if they decided to make a change now, according to Fabio Cannavaro.

    Despite winning Serie A for a ninth successive season, Juve reacted to the team's shock Champions League exit to Lyon last year by sacking head coach Maurizio Sarri.

    Pirlo was promoted from within to the top job, the former Italy international - who had only just been appointed as the club's new under-23 boss - signing a two-year deal to take charge of the first team.

    His debut campaign has been tough, both at home and abroad. Juve's dominance in the league looks set to come to an end, while their hopes of European glory were dashed again at the last-16 stage, this time unexpectedly losing over two legs to Porto.

    Pirlo's position has come into question as a consequence, yet former team-mate Cannavaro insists the club must show faith in the decision they made to appoint him in the first place.

    "When Juve chose Andrea they knew very well that he had no experience," Cannavaro said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport

    "It is logical that he should have his time to mature, even in the relationship with the team. There are still 30 points at stake, so it is right to leave it.

    "And he did good things, throwing young people and managing a complicated dressing room, one full of people who have won a lot. Of course, some things don't work, he was wrong: he is a human.

    "It's a heritage that must be protected. After all, if Juve don't confirm his position, what did they choose him to do last summer?

    "They would be wrong twice if they take that decision now. And the blame can't only be his if the players make mistakes on and off the pitch."

    Pirlo's Juve have a 57.14 per cent win percentage in Serie A, having scored 56 goals and conceded 25. The team averages exactly two points a game, considerably lower than the 2019-20 season.

    They face a fight just to qualify for the Champions League again: Saturday's 2-2 draw against Torino saw them slip to fourth in the table, with a crucial home game against Napoli - who sit fifth, albeit level with Juventus on 56 points – to come on Wednesday.

    As for Sarri, his solitary campaign in charge averaged out at 2.18 points per game, the former Napoli and Chelsea boss winning 68.42 per cent of his league fixtures as he secured the title again.

    However, both slip below the lofty standards set by Massimiliano Allegri in his final year in the job. In 2018-19, his squad won 73.68 per cent of their Serie A outings, conceding just 30 goals as they picked up points at a rate of 2.37 per game.

  • Bonucci joins Juventus team-mate Demiral in testing positive for coronavirus Bonucci joins Juventus team-mate Demiral in testing positive for coronavirus

    Leonardo Bonucci has joined Juventus team-mate Merih Demiral in testing positive for coronavirus, the Serie A giants have confirmed.

    The 33-year-old returned from international duty with Italy on Thursday, a day after the Italian Football Federation announced four members of staff had also returned positive tests.

    Bonucci will now begin a period of self-isolation that could keep him out of Serie A games with Torino, Napoli and Genoa over the next 10 days.

    A statement on Juventus' official website on Thursday read: "Leonardo Bonucci, upon returning from the Italian national team, this morning underwent a diagnostic molecular test for COVID-19 which came back positive. 

    "The player has already been placed in home isolation."

    Juve confirmed earlier on Thursday that fellow defender Merih Demiral tested positive for COVID-19 on March 26 while away on international duty with Turkey.

    Demiral was granted permission to return to Italy on a specially arranged flight and is isolating at the club's J Hotel.

    According to reports from Italy, meanwhile, Juve intend to fine a trio of players for breaching coronavirus restrictions by attending a party.

  • Mancini wants bigger Euro 2020 squads as he aims to match Lippi's World Cup feat Mancini wants bigger Euro 2020 squads as he aims to match Lippi's World Cup feat

    Roberto Mancini has set his sights on World Cup glory with Italy, though his first aim may well be to push for enlarged squads at Euro 2020.

    Italy made it three wins from three to start their World Cup 2022 qualification campaign by seeing off Lithuania by the now familiar scoreline of 2-0. 

    Goals from Stefano Sensi and Ciro Immobile bookended the second half on Wednesday, as Italy took a three-point lead in Group C.

    The Azzurri have won their last five matches 2-0, and are unbeaten in 25 games under Mancini, which brings him level with Marcelo Lippi's best haul – only Vittorio Pozzo (30) has managed a better such streak.

    Lippi guided Italy to a 2006 World Cup success, and Mancini did not shy away from wanting to emulate one of his predecessors.

    "I'm happy we are top of the group, it's pleasing, but records are standalone issues compared to real results," he told reporters.

    "I hope to match Lippi at the World Cup, maybe in December 2022."

    With three qualifying wins under their belt, Italy's focus will now switch to the upcoming Euros, rearranged from last year.

    Mancini picked a 38-man squad for this latest round of internationals, and suggested it would be prudent for UEFA to accommodate larger squads than the usual 23 at this year's tournament. 

    "I think it could be a good idea to be able to name bigger squads for Euro 2020," Mancini said.

    "I think it could be the right thing to do. The problem would above all be if a couple of players had problems in the tournament, as it's difficult to call them back after that, when players are on vacation."

    Italy recorded 29 shots against Lithuania, with 11 of them on target – the excellent Tomas Svedkauskas pulling off nine saves.

    Immobile, who scored from the spot with the last kick of the game, was particularly wasteful, sending a close-range header wide after seeing two efforts saved by Svedkauskas.

    The 31-year-old Lazio forward has scored eight goals in World Cup qualifiers, the joint-third most in Italy's history – along with Daniele De Rossi – and Mancini believes fatigue played a big part in Immobile's profligate display.

    "Ciro gave everything he could today," Mancini added. "The players aren't in the best shape right now, they are lacking sharpness, but the goals will come more consistently for him."

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