Fabio Cannavaro is cheering on Napoli and his brother Paolo from Dubai tonight. “Beating Manchester City would be a great birthday present!”
The veteran 2006 World and European Player of the Year celebrated his 38th birthday on Tuesday.
“Napoli beating Manchester City would be a great birthday present! I asked Paolo for that, too,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of tonight's Champions League clash.
“I couldn't really give Paolo much advice when he's facing the likes of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko or Carlos Tevez. He knows in these games you need character and to be a tiny bit arrogant.
“I'm optimistic about tonight, as Roberto Mancini's squad doesn't have much Champions League experience either, so that can weigh on them when making a debut on home turf.
“Do I miss playing in that tournament? Everything has its time. I had my moments, now it's up to Napoli to step into this new adventure. You work so hard to get here, it's only right to enjoy it.”
Napoli have not been in the European Cup for 21 years and Cannavaro was there too.
“I was a ball boy in the famous Napoli-Real Madrid of September 1987. We lost the first leg 2-0, Giovanni Francini's goal had fired everyone up in the stadium, but Emilio Butragueno equalised.
“When years later I met Butragueno as a Real Madrid director, I told him ‘you made me cry as a child, along with 90,000 other people.'”