Monday May 18 2020
Cannavaro: 'Football is religion in Italy'

Former Sassuolo defender Paolo Cannavaro has claimed ‘football is religion’ in Italy and must resume: “It should be prioritised.”

The 38-year-old, who retired from football in January 2018, has claimed the only correct decision would be to conclude the current season.

“I’m in favour of the recovery, provided that our country can take a breath of oxygen,” he told Tuttomercatoweb. “If I still played in Serie A, I would be in favour of the resumption, also aware that there may be some changes such as play-offs for the Scudetto and relegation.

“This will remain forever in history as a completely different championship, you can’t think of finishing it in a normal way.

“It’s better to finish differently and then resume the new one. The company that is football works well; the world of football gives a good life to a lot of people. We must start again.”

Cannavaro, who now works as an assistant to his older brother and former Italy captain Fabio, has claimed their country needs football.

“The Minister of Sport [Vincenzo Spadafora] will be under a lot of pressure. But he must not forget that football is the most popular sport in Italy,” he added. “Football is often seen as a world of spoiled people who earn a lot.

“I’ve heard this story too many times. The truth is that football in Italy is a religion, a faith, a passion that will never be taken away by anyone.

“If most of the country likes to talk about football, it’s not anyone’s fault. If in other sports there are no other privileges, that’s a different story. Maybe the pressure of today comes from other sectors.

“Football is an engine that drives Italy forward and must have the right weight. I understand the pressure, but football is the most popular sport in Italy and it’s correct that it’s prioritised.”

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