Over the next week and a half, here at the Juventus Offside we will be profiling Juventini, their characteristics, and what role they play for their national team. It might not be the most useful for regular readers or general Juventus fans, but I think we Juventini are most apt, perhaps, to describe the quality of these players as we watch them week-in, week-out. We’ve done Italy players Gianluigi Buffon and Claudio Marchisio, Brazil enigma Felipe Melo, and Martin Caceres of Uruguay. Today is "il Capitano" (of the Nazionale at least), Mr. Fabio Cannavaro.
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Nickname: Canna, il muro di Berlino (the Berlin Wall)
Estimated Market Value: €2.5 million. (Note- he is no longer owned by Juventus and has signed a contract with Dubai FC)
National Team: Italy, where over at the World Cup Blog, Julian and Paul keep you up-to-date on Azzurri news. (Sister site to The Offside for national teams)
Personality: Fabio Cannavaro is the definition of leader. Since Maldini's retirement in 2002, he has been the captain of the Nazionale. I am not a fan of him due to his Juventus history, but he is one of the most likable people in Italy.
Preferred Foot: Right-footed
Media Status: World-famous. Fabio Cannavaro is one of the most well-known defenders of his generation, thus far the only defender to have won the Ballon d'Or. Cannavaro has been playing at the highest level for almost a decade and a half, and has been the captain of Italy since Paolo Maldini retired internationally after the 2002 World Cup. He is also the most capped Italy player of all time. For a defender, it is impossible to be more famous.
With Parma: Coppa Italia of 1999, 2002, Supercoppa Italia 1999, UEFA Cup 1999
With Juventus: Serie A 2004-2005, 2005-2006
With Real Madrid: La Liga 2006-2007, 2007-2008
With Italy: 2006 FIFA World Cup
Individually: 2006 Ballon d'Or, 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year, 2006 FIFA World Cup Silver Ball Award, Serie A Footballer of the Year 2006, Italian Footballer of the Year 2006, Serie A Defender of the Year 2005, 2006, Euro 2000 Team of the Tournament, FIFA 2006 World Cup Team of the Tournament
Strengths: Cannavaro doesn't look ideal for a central defender, he is only 1.75meters tall. (5'7") Nevertheless, Cannavaro has built his career on excellent positioning and his sheer desire allowing him to compete against taller, stronger defenders. His leadership is another key attribute, as he inspires the players around him. Typically excellent as a stopper, as a last ditch tackler.
Weaknesses: Cannavaro's weakness is simple- he's too old. At age 36, he has lost much of his pace and 3 years in Spain seem have dulled his defending prowess as well. I don't think he should be starting for Italy, but I don't think he's the weakest point either. He's vulnerable to pacey players, and his defending has definitely dulled in the last few years.
Status on Club Team: Gone. After a very incredibly mediocre season with Juventus, the club decided not to extend his contract and Cannavaro has signed a lucrative contract with Dubai FC.
2009-2010 Club Season: Subpar. The wrong choice from day one, he was too old, and had a poor past with Juventus. He started out brightly, and many of us thought he had shaken the rust of 3 years at Real Madrid, but as Juve's season spiraled downwards, so did Fabio's. For much of the season, Legrottaglie was indeed better and under Ferrara and Zaccheroni, was chosen to start ahead of him, before the pressure from up high came down. His worst moment was the Fulham game, as the only center-back available for Juventus, he got sent off early in the game, making Zebina-Grygera our center-back partnership. Towards the end of the season his performances picked up again, and it seemed that he was merely putting on a good performance all season when Lippi was paying attention.
Status in National Team: Undeserved starter. He's starting because he's the national team captain and the most experienced, but he's been poor since the World Cup ended, 3 shit years at Real Madrid and another one at Juventus.
Expected Performance for National Team: Average. I think given that he cares about the Azzurri, he'll play much better than his history at Juventus, but the real truth is he's been on the decline for years now. I don't think he'll be a very weak point, but he won't be a protagonist either.
Random Fact: Cannavaro wanted to finish his career in Naples, but was snubbed the last two summers by De Laurentiis at Napoli. His brother plays at Napoli and many, including this writer, think he deserved to go to the World Cup this summer.
In one word: Veteran.
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