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Name Fabio Cannavaro
Spelling Muro di Berlino
Gender Male
Ethnic Italian
Job Italian Footballer
Desc Fabio Cannavaro is Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning captain. He was regarded by many as the best center back of his time despite his lack of height. He was the 2006 world player of the year, becoming only the third defender to win the prize. Since retiring, he has helped coach Dubai club Al Ahli to an unprecedented treble


Org Italy National Team
Club as Player Al Ahli
  Real Madrid
  AC Parma
  Inter Milan
Club as Coach Al Ahli


Brother Paolo Cannavaro
Friend Gianluigi Buffon


Muro di Berlino His impregnable performances earned him the nickname ‘Muro di Berlino’ – the Berlin Wall
Diego Maradona Even above his home nation’s defending luminaries – Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and the rest – Cannavaro ranks Maradona as a career-long inspiration. A famous story recalls young Cannavaro training as a youngster opposite Napoli’s greatest hero, Diego Maradona, and delivering a crunching tackle. The coaches were apparently less than impressed, but the Argentine legend urged him to keep the passion

2014 06 06 Retrieve

When you win the World Cup, you start to become a legend – for the people around the world, you are different. I’m very proud because, all my life, I worked very hard to be a football player. I was not like Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi – with a lot of qualities, with a lot of skills

My parents every day said, ‘Ah, it’s better you go to school, it’s very important for your future’. But inside myself, I said: ‘I think the good way is follow the football’

[The sight of over 150,000 ecstatic Italians in the Circus Maximus stadium – and many more partying outside] For us it was something unbelievable – more than 2 million people on the streets. We understood we did something – Wow! We understood we are world champs. Now we are not just normal players

[Five days after the celebrations, Juventus, Cannavaro’s club at the time, was booted from the Italian top division for its role in Serie A’s Calciopoli match fixing scandal, and he was soon on his way out] My team was unbelievable. I remember I was with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alessandro del Piero, David Trezeguet, Lilian Thuram, Gianluigi Buffon – nine players we had for this team (played in) the World Cup final. But Calciopoli destroyed everything. In the end… we decided to move. Some players decided to stay there but I went to Real Madrid with Fabio Capello, the coach

[Cannavaro started to pick up individual awards too. He became only the third defender to win the Ballon d’Or. He says the new recognition of his talents was overwhelming] I remember every week, some guys called me and said: ‘Ah you need to come to Paris, you need to come to Madrid, you need to receive the trophy…’. [When, the same year, he took home the FIFA World Player of the Year title, an emphatic haul was complete] When I won both, everybody was ‘OK, he’s the best!’ so I was very happy for the second trophy

[Early in his career, he took to the field with his older brother at Parma] When I started to play in 1993 with my team, I was shocked because I was a Napoli supporter: I grew up all my life with a Napoli jersey like my second skin and, for me, to be near to these players was unbelievable. I was like, ‘What am I doing here?’

It was very different situation because I remember, in the field during the game, I want help him, I want to be near to him, I don’t want him to make a mistake

[Despite not reaching the same heights as his brother on the world stage, Paolo succeeded in one area where Fabio failed: making a successful return to Napoli, who he led to a Coppa Italia victory in 2012] So now my mother has two pictures: my brother with the Coppa Italia, and me with the World Cup – it’s very funny. She’s very proud

[A famous story recalls young Cannavaro training as a youngster opposite Napoli’s greatest hero, Diego Maradona, and delivering a crunching tackle] Maradona, I think, is not a football player but he’s something different. He was unbelievable

[Moving to Al Ahli first as a player on a free transfer after the 2010 World Cup, then joining the coaching staff the following year after knee injuries forced his retirement] When I came here, the team was very, very bad. Now after three years with my president, we changed the team. [reflecting on a 2014 season that has seen the club take UAE’s Arabian Gulf League, Super Cup and League Cup honors] We are very proud of the job we did

[His contract with Al Ahli ends in June and the future is, as yet, undecided – although he has recently stated his ambition to return to Italy once he has earned his UEFA coaching badges] Now I’m a coach so I want to be head coach. I think I’m ready to be, to go around the world and share my experience with the players

[Italy, the nation with the second best haul of World Cup trophies, can never be ignored as it seeks a fifth crown] We have the good team, good coach and – of course – we are the Italian national team, we can try to win again the World Cup. It is not easy because never in the World Cup history has a European team won the World Cup in South America. And inshallah, like we say in Dubai, we can win

2016 10 29 Retrieve

[Former Italy and FIFA Ballon d’Or-winning defender Fabio Cannavaro says coaching his former club Real Madrid and the Italian national team is his dream] It is my dream to coach Real Madrid. The Italian national team, too. If you don’t have these types of goals, it is better not to start coaching in the first place

2017 03 04 Retrieve

[Fabio Cannavaro writes about training with Diego Maradona during his time with Napoli] At the end of training, he walked up to me and handed me his boots. I had posters of Maradona on the walls of my bedroom - our Neapolitan deity. Now, in my hands, were his shoes, muddy from the day’s work

2020 04 04 Retrieve

[Fabio Cannavaro gives his thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis] Now that we are in the middle of this battle, we must fight it together. And that means bringing out the best versions of ourselves. Sure, it is true that none of us is Superman. But when we stand together, we can achieve anything. Stay strong, my brothers and sisters

2020 05 02 Retrieve

[Fabio Cannavaro on Real Madrid] If you want to be a coach, you have to think about the top. And the top is Real Madrid, it’s the Italian national team or some big club in Europe. I am working for the day to come [when I can] coach a club like Real Madrid