Paolo Cannavaro has announced his retirement from football and will assist brother Fabio at Guangzhou Evergrande. “It’ll be a new year and a new life.”
Cannavaro will bid farewell to not only Sassuolo but professional football in general when the Neroverdi face Roma on Saturday, the 36-year-old set to join his older sibling in China.
“I wanted to leave a mark on and off the pitch,” the defender said at a Press conference.
“My ambition was too strong, and for this, I thank President Squinzi and Carnevali. They’re giving me an opportunity that isn’t easy to grant midseason.
“There are human values and fantastic alchemy here, which you don’t get at other clubs. I’m leaving home.
“I’ll assist Fabio 360 degrees as a technical collaborator. I can coach those who play less during the season.
“It’ll be a full-on experience for me, a huge leap. Saturday? It’ll be a strange feeling. I won’t miss the field because it’s a decision I’ve made, but I will miss being around my teammates.
“China? The city will be new. I’ve been there twice but only for summer tours. Only lately have I been preparing myself for it because I was too focused on doing well here until the last day. It’ll be a new year and a new life.
“Knowing that I’m quitting football but still doing something that keeps me busy is a privilege. Chinese will be difficult to learn, so we’ll settle for English.
“Relationship with Fabio? I haven’t had much of a life with him. Getting back together didn’t happen for several years.
“I wanted us to do so in the future as opportunities always presented themselves. I can’t wait to start.
“The most beautiful moment in my career was staying up the year I arrived. Staying up with a game to spare wasn’t easy.
“The least beautiful was our elimination from the Europa League, when we saw our team decimated because we had so many injuries.
“Di Francesco? He’s someone that helped light the bulb for me to become a Coach. Scudetto? I want only one team to win it, you know who they are…”
Cannavaro started his career at hometown club Napoli, before spending seven years up north with Parma and Verona.
He returned to the Partenopei in 2006, where he played over 200 times, and went on to help establish Sassuolo in Serie A.