Alessandro Del Piero marked Fabio Cannavaro's retirement with an open letter. “Everyone who loves this sport should stand and applaud you.”
The 2006 World Cup, World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or winner has decided to hang up his boots at the age of 37 due to a recurring left knee injury.
It is telling that Cannavaro announced his retirement exactly five years to the day since he lifted the World Cup trophy.
“For those few of us who were on the field in Berlin that night, but also those who suffered with us, cried and celebrated, whether a few metres away or thousands of kilometres,” wrote Del Piero on his official website.
“July 9 is not any date for the Azzurri and all Italians. It's no coincidence that Cannavaro, the captain who lifted the World Cup to the sky in Berlin on July 9 2006, chose this date to say goodbye to football.
“I am very close to Fabio, for personal and professional reasons. He has been a great teammate (and at times a great opponent) for a lifetime.
“We were almost always together with the Azzurri jersey, but also black and white stripes of Juventus, first for two unforgettable and winning seasons from 2004 to 2006, then his last in Turin in 2009-10.
“He was my captain for the Nazionale; I was his captain at Juventus... what a pair!
“Thank you Fabio. All those who love this sport must stand up and applaud you, just as they did that night five years ago...