Home > Sport > Football
Tuesday August 20, 2013 MYT 8:18:00 PM
Tuesday August 20, 2013 MYT 8:25:34 PM
by ashreena pillai
Fabio Cannavaro: ' I started playing in the streets. I think it's a good experience for a young footballer. It teaches you skills like no other.'
HE began playing football in the streets and went on to lift the World Cup in 2006.
While stranger things have happened, it’s fairytale stories of hardships and success like that of Fabio Cannavaro that have made every schoolboy and girl dream of doing the impossible.
Cannavaro grew up playing football on the streets in Naples, one of the toughest cities in Italy known for its rough and tough neighbourhoods and dalliances with organised crime.
But it was simply the way of life and nothing could stop him from playing the game he loved.
“I started playing in the streets. I think it's a good experience for a young footballer. It teaches you skills like no other,” said Cannavaro.
Standing at 1.76m, the former Italian captain did not necessarily fit the bill of a menacing centreback. But what he lacked in height, he made up with strength, power, superior aerial game and, more importantly, heart.
From the streets, Cannavaro was scouted and it was not long before he donned the colours of boyhood team Napoli in 1992. He went on to play for Serie A sides Parma, Internazionale and Juventus before switching to Real Madrid in the La Liga in 2006.
He also enjoyed a second stint with Juventus (2009-2010) and then moved to Dubai’s Al-Ahli in 2010 before calling time on his illustrious 19-year career – decorated with two Copa Italia titles, two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup. And he capped it all with the crowning glory – the 2006 World Cup.
Considered one of the best defenders of his generation, Cannavaro, who also won both the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year in 2006, is now enjoying his role as assistant coach at Al-Ahli.
“I know in Europe we have a good tradition with football and, for me, it’s the same. I want to be a coach. Whether in Spain, Italy or anywhere, it’s the same. I want to share my experience with the players,” he said.
“It’s totally different. When you’re a football player, you just concentrate on yourself, your game and give your best performance for your team but you are one person. But as a coach, everything is different. You’re responsible for everyone else. You have to prepare the team – the training, before and after the training. It’s a different challenge.”
And for the man they dub “Muro di Berlino,” which means “The Berlin Wall” in Italian, Cannavaro feels it’s necessary to be able to give back to the sport that has given him so much.
“It’s important for me to be a coach ... of course, the football in Europe is popular but I prefer to go around the world to get new experiences,” said the 39-year-old.
“Football is the same everywhere. It’s not only in Europe or South America but it’s coming up in Asia as well and it’s good for the players. Maybe some time in the near future, an Asian will be the best player in the world.”
This year, Cannavaro took over the helm of being the ambassador for the 2013 Tiger Street Football from Dutch legend Edgar Davids and has been travelling to cities like Phnom Penh, Sydney and now Kuala Lumpur.
“It’s very good to have a competition like this. It’s a good opportunity for players to learn and develop their skills,” he said when met at the Old Wing of the One Utama Shopping Centre last Saturday.
In the Malaysian leg of the 2013 Tiger Street Football, Malaysia’s Bobai FC capitalised on homeground advantage to emerge champions after beating England’s Manchester Futsal Club 3-2 in the final on Sunday.
Bobai FC took home RM16,495.
Fisherman’s Friend Team D emerged as local champions after beating Brabus United A 7-2.
Tags / Keywords:
football, Italy, Fabio Cannavaro, World Cup 2006, Al-Ahli, 2013 Tiger Street Football
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)