Saturday July 9 2011
Cannavaro: 'Chiellini is my heir'

Fabio Cannavaro explains why he retired, what he'll do in future and states “Giorgio Chiellini is my heir.”

The 37-year-old defender still had a year left to run on his contract with Al-Ahli, but has hung up his boots and will stay on in Dubai as a director.

“I made the decision to stop playing due to physical problems,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“I was on holiday with my family in America and, when trying to run, I realised the pain in my left knee would not stop. It's probably the right time for me to stop now, anyway.”

Cannavaro looked back over a long career, particularly 2006, when he captained Italy to the World Cup, won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award.

“The most wonderful and important day of my career, even my life, was without doubt that victory in Berlin,” he said of the World Cup Final win on penalties against France.

“That was a fantastic squad, full of great men and splendid players. Lifting the World Cup to the sky was an incredible emotion.

“The biggest regret was certainly the defeat to France in the Euro 2000 Final. Perhaps we lacked something in terms of character at that time, but it served us well six years later.

“I have known many wonderful people in football and made strong friendships with Alessandro Del Piero, Ciro Ferrara, Gigi Buffon and Lilian Thuram.

“Then there's Marcello Lippi: he gave me so much in my career and together we achieved something exceptional.”

Cannavaro had no hesitation in naming the player he thinks will fill his shoes both for Italy and Juventus.

“Chiellini is a great player and I'm hardly the first to point that out. He is physically strong and still young, so he can achieve great things in the Nazionale. We've got to invest in our youth academies to help lads grow.”

The veteran defender will stay at Al-Ahli as a consultant, but admits he will return to his homeland.

“Italy is my future, but there is no rush. In life it's important to travel and my family is very happy in Dubai. It's a fabulous place and the club offered me a three-year contract as a director.

“Juventus? I still have to evaluate some things. They changed the structure of the club hierarchy, but you never know what will happen tomorrow.”

It was widely reported Cannavaro had a pre-contract agreement to become a director at Juve once his playing career came to an end.

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