Skip to the content Home .:. About .:. Biography
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

Affiliation

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

Affiliation

Brother Paolo Cannavaro
Friend Gianluigi Buffon

Notes

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

2019 12 20 Retrieve

[Cannavaro eyes coaching role in Europe after Chinese Super League success with Guangzhou Evergrande] Coaching in Italy? I’m working towards that. I’m doing my apprenticeship. I won the second division in China, I brought a team to promotion and then to the Champions League. Now I can fight to win something. It’s a fantastic experience. The Chinese game is a different kind of football, where there isn’t as much intensity or technique as in Europe, but in the Champions League you play against strong teams. My goal is to try to get back to Europe and compare myself with the top managers, but to do this I have to be ready, to have the experience

[Following a Chinese League One title with Tianjin in 2016 and an FA Super Cup with Guangzhou last year, lifting the league title in 2019 represented Cannavaro’s biggest coaching achievement to date] It has been a season of change. The club had focused on lots of young players; the goal was to reach the top six and instead we won the league. Now is the hardest part, because when you win you have to do it again

[One of Cannavaro’s team-mates from Italy’s victorious 2006 World Cup squad, Gennaro Gattuso, has recently taken on a new role] He has a lot of desire and determination. He is a guy who likes to work and has clear ideas. I hope he can do well in Naples

2020 03 25 Retrieve

[Fabio Cannavaro believes it will be difficult for European football to return before the season ends amid the coronavirus pandemic] In less than a month it is not known what is going to happen in the world. I think it will take a long time for this to end in Italy and Spain. It will be difficult for European football to return before the season ends

The virus in Guangzhou is under control and life is beginning to go back to normal. There are no more restrictions, only 14 days at home. In two days, I finish my quarantine. All of us who come back have to do it. Staying at home is essential because we do not give the virus the opportunity to infect more people. We have to learn from China, they have more experience in this situation

2020 04 01 Retrieve

[Coronavirus: Cannavaro pens heartfelt message to all Italians] Everyone Back Home, What is happening to our country right now is filling me with anxiety and pain. I cannot describe how horrible it feels to see Italy suffer like this, to see so many lives lost each day. My heart goes out to all the people who have been affected, and especially to those who have lost someone they are close to.

I also want to salute the medical workers who are working hard to save as many lives as possible. You are the true heroes that our country needs right now.

Sadly, though, the reality is that none of us is Superman. None of us is immune to this virus. And yet when this epidemic broke out in China, I felt as if we Italians thought we were going to be O.K. As if we were all thinking, Well, at least it won’t affect me.

I certainly underestimated it. At first, I thought it was just a flu. How wrong we were. At least we have shut the country down and ordered people to stay at home. Here in China, where I have been coaching Guangzhou Evergrande, I went into quarantine a few weeks ago. People here had already dealt with SARS, so they knew what to do. In Italy we have never had an emergency like this. But 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

Of course, we all know Italy is an amazing country. We have stunning coastlines and a scenic countryside. We have a climate that allows us to spend a lot of time outdoors. We have fashion, we have food. But life in Italy is so good that sometimes we tend to rest on our laurels. Sometimes we look after our own things instead of thinking about the common good. And when we do that, we are wasting our potential.

Fortunately, however, there are also moments when we really decide to show our pride - and those moments tend to be when the going gets tough. When there is something important at stake.

I have experienced this many times, and the best examples that come to my mind are when Italy have played in World Cups. Perhaps that seems a weird thing to bring up at a time when sports seem more trivial than ever. But as we all know, football is more than just a sport in Italy. When the national team plays, everyone feels a part of it. Everyone comes together. And when Italians come together, we tend to do well.

I can still remember watching Italy win the 1982 World Cup. I was just an eight-year-old kid in Naples, my hometown, watching the games with a bunch of people in the houses of relatives and friends. I can recall that when Italy scored, we would shout and hug, even though we did not all know each other.

When I was captain of the national team at the 2006 World Cup, I saw something similar happen with the players. The Calciopoli scandal broke out just before the tournament began, so when we met up to prepare, we were all on edge. A lot of people thought that the scandal was going to distract us. But the mood in the camp was always good, and that was the key. In such a critical moment, we did not just look after ourselves. We cared about everyone. We also had a great leader in Marcello Lippi, who kept up the harmony and motivation in the group. As soon as we landed in Germany, we had practically forgotten about the scandal, and we couldn’t wait to play.

People often ask me why Italy won that World Cup. We didn’t win it because we were lucky. We won it because we had the best team - and because we believed we would win it.

Right now we need that same spirit of unbreakable unity as a country. Already we have seen some great examples of solidarity. The phrase andrà tutto bene - everything will be all right - is a message of support to those who are trapped at home, to those who are scared, lonely or depressed. People have stepped out onto their balconies to applaud our medical workers. Neighbours have sung songs together. This is the kind of unity we need.

When this crisis is over, Italy will be different. Many will have lost jobs. Some will have lost businesses. There will be an awful lot of hard work to do. We can only hope that a vaccine will become available as soon as possible, so that we can put an end to this nightmare once and for all.

Until then, we just have to dig in. So let’s stay at home and spend time with our families, and let’s try to have direct contact with as few people as possible.

And let’s also try to do what we can for the common good. For my part I have started a fundraiser along with my 2006 World Cup team-mates. The proceeds will go to the Italian Red Cross and will be used to supply hospitals in Italy with whatever they need to beat the virus. I hope you will join me in making a donation.

And if you can’t, a simple act for your neighbour can go a long way, too. We must all remember that this battle is a team effort, and that we need everyone to join in. 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 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 04 16 Retrieve

[Former Juve team-mate Cannavaro said of Buffon] Well, you’ll know it. He won’t want to stop, but they will make him stop, which is very different.

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

2020 05 02b Retrieve

[Cannavaro: Pirlo is a bstard!]</b> He’s a bstard – I’m allowed to say that! Andrea is really quick-witted and funny. He has plenty of jokes, he’s not a curmudgeon like it seems. He’s great company

[Cannavaro reflected on one of the pivotal moments of the Berlin final as Zinedine Zidane was infamously dismissed for headbutting Marco Materazzi] I have to be honest, I only remember the noise. I was nearby. I turned and I saw Marco on the ground. I heard this noise and Marco said: ‘He headbutted me’. Was it sore? Beyond that, he did what he had to do. He threw himself on the ground. Goodbye and thank you. But it was a good headbutt!

[Cannavaro has coached in both China and Saudi Arabia] It’s normal. I’ve been in the dugout for four years and I certainly feel more than ready. I have my staff and my ideas, it’s a very important thing

[And the prospect of coaching Napoli] They have a great coach. But who wouldn’t want to coach them? Now what interests me is to make my journey and to be ready

2020 05 09 Retrieve

[Fabio Cannavaro admits Messi is top but Maradona is another world] I respect Messi a lot. For the new generation he is one of the best. But Maradona is different because the football was different. They kicked him a lot but he was always in control and he was tough. Messi is top but Maradona is another world. I never compare him with other players. I never saw Pele but I watched Maradona, for seven years I saw every game. He’s not one of the best, he’s the best

2020 05 09b Retrieve

[Cannavaro sympathises with Van Dijk over Ballon d’Or defeat] I messaged Van Dijk to congratulate him on last season but, as a defender, it is difficult to win. You don’t just need to have a great performance and to win trophies. You need to be lucky not to have a striker like Ronaldo and Messi in front of you. This is the key. If you have Messi or Ronaldo you start the game 1-0 up

Liverpool had an amazing season and they deserve to win and celebrate this league. But we are in this [coronavirus] situation and it’s a shame for them. I respect Salah a lot. He’s changed a lot at Liverpool. For the last three years, he’s been like a machine. He’s the player every coach would like to train because he can defend and attack and he leaves everything on the field, he never gives up.

I watch every game in the Premier League and I like the ambiance and culture of football in England. I am in China to try to improve my system and idea within football. I am at one of the best Asian clubs and of course, in the future, I’d like to try one experience in Europe. I like the Klopp mentality but at the same time, I like the Pep culture about football because always we need intensity with and without the ball. But you need to control the game and try to win. I have my system and I hope one day you will see

2020 05 12 Retrieve

[Fabio Cannavaro discussed his love for Andres Iniesta, saying he watched the former Barcelona midfielder over Lionel Messi] He played with such style, you couldn’t help but love him when you saw him play. He was a perfect professional, very humble […] I loved him. Everybody might have been watching Messi but I was watching Iniesta

I respect Messi a lot. For the new generation he is one of the best. But Maradona is different because the football was different. They kicked him a lot but he was always in control and he was tough. Messi is top but Maradona is another world. I never compare him with other players. I never saw Pele but I watched Maradona, for seven years I saw every game. He’s not one of the best, he’s the best

Real Madrid need players like Mbappe, a young star who could follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s normal that Madrid want to sign him but it also has to be taken into account that PSG’s owners don’t need the money. They are ambitious and they want to win the Champions League. I think it will be difficult for Madrid to get him. The president of PSG is a person who wants to win, I know them well and they will fight tooth and nail to keep Mbappe

2020 05 12b Retrieve

[Fabio Cannavaro believes Real Madrid need Kylian Mbappe so that he can follow in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps] Real Madrid need players like Mbappe, a young star who could follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s normal that Madrid want to sign him but it also has to be taken into account that PSG’s owners don’t need the money. They are ambitious and they want to win the Champions League. I think it will be difficult for Madrid to get him. The president of PSG is a person who wants to win, I know them well and they will fight tooth and nail to keep Mbappe

Of course he has the ability to mark an era in Madrid. Which league would I advise him to play in? When I was in France, I loved watching him play and I was happy to be able to see it first hand. When I went to England, I would have liked to have seen him play in the Premier League. And if I return to Spain, I hope he comes to La Liga. I’m sure there will be some things about being at PSG that will give him what he needs and maybe other things that won’t. And perhaps Real Madrid might be able to offer him some of the things that he is lacking at PSG. We are lucky to have two of the best teams in the world - Real Madrid and Barcelona, and I personally would like them to continue having the best players in the world