Happy Birthday to Luigi Di Biagio!
03 June 2022
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Fabio Cannavaro, Italy’s World Cup winning captain in 2006, celebrates his 49th birthday today. Cannavaro was born in Naples on 13 September 1973. He started his career in the Napoli youth setup, and he would go on to make his Serie A debut for the club on 07 March 1993 in a 4-3 defeat against Juventus. A tough and quick defender, he wore the shirts of six clubs throughout his illustrious career. Between 1995 and 2002, he represented Parma and formed a formidable defensive partnership with Frenchman Thuram. He won a UEFA Cup, two Italian cups and an Italian Supercup with the Emilian side. In 2002, he made the move to Inter Milan where he remained for two years before signing for Juventus. After a further two seasons with Juventus, he moved abroad and signed for Real Madrid. He arrived at the club as a newly-crowned World champion in the summer of 2006, and on 27 November was awarded the Ballon d’Or. He followed that up with FIFA World Player of the Year on 18 December. Cannavaro picked up two La Liga winners medals and one Spanish Supercup medal with Real Madrid. He returned to Juventus in 2009/10 before ending his career at Al-Ahly in the United Arab Emirates.
He immediately transitioned into coaching, taking over the reins at Guangzhou Evergrande from Marcello Lippi in November 2014. He remained at the Chinese club until June 2015, before moving to Tianjin Quanjian, with whom he earned promotion to the Chinese first division in his first season at the club. This saw him return once again to Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande, where he ended his role in September 2021.
His national team career began at U21 level in a team coached by Cesare Maldini. He won two consecutive UEFA European Under-21 Championship titles in 1994 and 1996. On 22 January 1997, he received his first call up to the senior team and made his debut in Italy’s 2-0 friendly win against Northern Ireland in Palermo. He wore the Azzurri shirt for thirteen years, amassing a total of 136 appearances – second in the all-time rankings after Gianluigi Buffon. He scored two goals, both in friendlies – one in Italy’s 4-0 win against Tunisia on 30 May 2004 and another in their 3-1 win against Portugal on 6 February 2008. The moment he raised the World Cup trophy in the Berlin Olympiastadion in 2006 will remain in the memories of Italian football fans forevermore. It was the pinnacle of an international career that saw him take part in four World Cups, two European Championships and one Confederations Cup.