Five years after lifting the FIFA World Cup in Germany, former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro has announced his retirement from football: "I'm very sad," said the 37-year-old defender. "It's not a simple thing; everyone says it has to come eventually, and when it comes it's a decision you have to face."
Cannavaro, who won the won the Ballon d'Or in 2006 after leading the Azzurri to World Cup glory and was capped a record 136 times by his country, had to bring the curtain down on his career due to a persistent knee injury. "I tried to recover during my holiday, but when I was in Miami I realised that I felt pain even after a simple jog, and I understood I could not go on like that," said the two-time UEFA European Under-21 Championship winner at a press conference in Dubai, where he spent last season playing for Al-Ahli Club.
"I'm very sad, football is everything to me," added Cannavaro, who is to continue working with the Dubai club. "I will stay here for another three years, working as a technical adviser. I find working for this club exciting. I wanted to play on for another season, but it wouldn't have been fair."
Cannavaro hangs up his boots a year after leaving the Bianconeri for the second time. He started his career with SSC Napoli before leaving his hometown club in 2005 for Parma FC, where he won a UEFA Cup, a Coppa Italia and an Italian Super Cup. His impressive performances for the Ducali earned him a move to FC Internazionale Milano in 2002, but after just two seasons with the Nerazzurri he left for Juventus.
After becoming a world champion in Berlin on 9 July 2006, five years ago to the day, Cannavaro joined Real Madrid CF, where he collected two Liga titles and a Spanish Super Cup. He returned to Juventus in 2009, but left the following summer to join Al-Ahli, after completing a total of 113 appearances in UEFA club competition.
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