DUBAI - Former World Player of the Year
Fabio Cannavaro retired on Saturday five years to the day since
captaining Italy to World Cup glory.
The 37-year-old, who stepped down from Italy duty after last
year's humbling World Cup group stage exit as holders, has
ended his time with Dubai's Al Ahli because of a recurring knee
"It's a sad day since football has been very much part of my
life for the last 20 years, but then there is nothing I could
do," the former Parma, Juventus, Inter Milan and Real Madrid
player told reporters.
"I have decided to stop playing after a medical examination
in Italy last week. Doctors have told me clearly that I can no
"Injuries are part of a sportsman's life, but then life
moves on. Every sportsperson in the world has to make a decision
one day. And today is the day for me."
He is the only defender to win the FIFA World Player award
after his calm, authoritative captaining and defensive play led
Italy to glory in 2006.
Four years on, however, and he looked a completely different
player in South Africa last year with age catching up with him
and exposing his lack of height and pace.
Cannavaro, who had signed a two-year deal with Al Ahli in
June last year, made 16 appearances for the Dubai club and
scored two goals.
He will continue with the club as a technical advisor and
brand ambassador as part of a three-year agreement.
"I am really happy that the club has offered me a new
contract. I can't say at this moment what exactly my role would
be, but I am very excited with the new offer," he said.
"My family and I feel at home in Dubai."
Saeed Al Naboodah, chairman of Al Ahli, said: "We are really
disappointed that Fabio cannot play for our club. He enjoys an
impressive CV and we are delighted to continue our association
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