Cannavaro in 2011
|Full name||Fabio Cannavaro|
|Date of birth||13 September 1973|
|Place of birth||Naples, Italy|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Guangzhou Evergrande (manager)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Fabio Cannavaro, Ufficiale OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [ˈfabjo kannaˈvaro]; born 13 September 1973) is an Italian football coach and former player who is currently the head coach of Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande. He is considered to be one of the greatest defenders of all time and was given the name "Muro di Berlino" ("The Berlin Wall") by Italian supporters. He spent the majority of his career in Italy. He started his career at Napoli, before spending seven years at Parma, with whom he won two Coppa Italia and the 1999 UEFA Cup. After spells at Internazionale and Juventus, he transferred along with manager Fabio Capello from Juventus to Real Madrid, with whom he won consecutive La Liga titles in 2007 and 2008. After returning to Juventus for one season in 2009–10, he joined Al-Ahli in Dubai, where he retired from football in 2011 after an injury-troubled season. After his retirement, he became a coaching staff of Al-Ahli, notably as global ambassador and technical director from 2011 to 2013 and assistant coach from 2013 to 2014. In November 2014, he was appointed as head coach of Guangzhou Evergrande.
Cannavaro has also achieved success with the Italian national team. He was part of the Italy team that won consecutive Under-21 European Championships in 1994 and 1996. After earning his first senior cap in 1997, he eventually became captain. Cannavaro led Italy to victory in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and in 2009 overtook Paolo Maldini as the most capped player in the country's history. He retired from international football on 25 June 2010 following Italy's failure to qualify for the knock-out stages of the 2010 World Cup, having amassed 136 caps and scored two goals for the senior national team.
He was named the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year, and won the Ballon d'Or award in 2006 which made him the only defender to win the award in a decade and only the third of all time after Franz Beckenbauer and Matthias Sammer, both of Germany. In 2007 he was in the six man shortlist for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. His younger brother Paolo is also a professional footballer, playing for Italian side Sassuolo.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Coaching career
- 4 Style of play
- 5 Media
- 6 Personal life
- 7 Controversy
- 8 Career statistics
- 9 Honours
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Cannavaro was born in Naples to Gelsomina Costanzo and Pasquale Cannavaro. His mother worked as a maid, while his father was a bank clerk; his father also played football for provincial side Giugliano. He has an elder sister named Renata, who was married at the age of 15. He also has a younger brother named Paolo, who plays football as well. As a youngster, Cannavaro played for a team from Bagnoli before being quickly spotted by the scouts of Napoli, his childhood team.
Cannavaro initially served as the club's ball boy and would often watch his idols Diego Maradona and Ciro Ferrara play. He gained a reputation when, in a training session at Napoli, the young Fabio produced a strong tackle on Maradona, who was then the undisputed star of the club. The rough challenge angered teammates and staff at Napoli; Maradona himself, however, defended the promising player and encouraged him to play the way he wanted.
His progress as a player was such that he soon became a member of the first team alongside some of his childhood idols. Cannavaro's debut in Serie A came on 7 March 1993 in Turin for a game against Juventus. The post-Maradona Napoli were in desperate need of funds and were soon forced to sell Cannavaro to Parma, where Cannavaro won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia, and was named the Serie A Defender of the Year. Cannavaro remained at Napoli until 1995, earning nearly 60 total appearances with one goal.
Cannavaro was sold to Parma in the summer of 1995 and in his first season, he was instantly a regular in the first team, scoring once in 29 appearances in the league. He would go on not only to win trophies with the club, but also achieve several personal accomplishments, being named the team's captain. It was also in Parma that he met Gianluigi Buffon and Lilian Thuram, who would not only form one of the tightest defensive units of Europe with Cannavaro but would also become some of his closest friends in football. Further players featuring in this legendary Parma backline were Luigi Sartor, Roberto Mussi, Antonio Benarrivo, Luigi Apolloni and the Argentine Néstor Sensini. Cannavaro began to obtain success during his time at Parma. During his first season, Parma were eliminated in the second round of the Coppa Italia, but finished in sixth place in Serie A that season, qualifying for the UEFA Cup. Parma also reached the quarter-finals of the 1995–96 European Cup Winners' Cup that season. Parma finished the 1996–97 Serie A season as runners-up to Serie A Champions Juventus, allowing them to qualify for the UEFA Champions League the following season. Parma were once again eliminated in the second round of the Coppa Italia and in the first round of the UEFA Cup that season. In the 1997–98 season, Parma finished in fifth place in Serie A and reached the Coppa Italia semi-finals, whilst they were knocked out in the group stage of the Champions League, finishing second in their group to defending champions Borussia Dortmund.
In his fourth season with the club, Cannavaro won his only European trophy, the UEFA Cup, as well as winning the Coppa Italia. Parma finished the Serie A season in fourth place, one point from Fiorentina in the third place spot. In the following season, Fabio's brother Paolo joined the team, and the two Cannavaro brothers were able to play alongside each other for the next two seasons. Fabio won his first Supercoppa Italiana title against Serie A Champions Milan and Parma finished the Serie A season in fourth place, tied with Inter for the final remaining Champions League spot. Parma however lost 3-1 to Inter in the Serie A Champions League playoff match failing to qualify for the Champions League Group Stage. They started in the third and final qualifying round of the Champions League and were knocked out by Rangers. They were knocked out in the round of 16 of both the UEFA Cup and the Coppa Italia that season.
In the 2000–01 season, Cannavaro aided in leading Parma to another Coppa Italia Final, in which they were defeated by Fiorentina. They were eliminated in the third round of the UEFA Cup that season. Parma also finished the season in fourth place for the third consecutive season, which allowed them to go through to the Champions League qualifying round, although Parma were ultimately unable to qualify. In his final season with Parma, Cannavaro managed to win his second Coppa Italia title, over Juventus, whilst Parma were eliminated in the round of 16 of the UEFA Cup, and finished the Serie A season in 10th place. As from 1997, he began to earn call-ups to the national team's senior squad due to his performances for Parma, and he was consistently one of the best defenders in Serie A. In his time with Parma, Cannavaro made over 250 appearances in all competitions, scoring five goals.
In the summer of 2002, Cannavaro joined Internazionale for €23 million, on a four-year contract. At the time, Parma were in financial difficulty, while Inter had just lost a Serie A title in dramatic circumstances to Juventus and were in the process of rebuilding following four barren years and the departure of star striker Ronaldo. Along with Francesco Coco and his former Parma teammate Hernán Crespo, Cannavaro was supposed to be one of the faces of a new-look Inter led by Héctor Cúper.
During his spell with the club, however, they mostly flattered to deceive. He reached the semi-finals of the 2002–03 Champions League and also finished runners-up in Serie A to Juventus. His second season was not as productive and he missed a large chunk of it through injury, and was often played out of position. Inter finished fourth in Serie A and reached the semifinals of the Coppa Italia, losing out to Juventus on penalties. Inter finished third in their Champions League group, but would go on to reach the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup. After two years with the club, he was sold to Juventus in a surprising part-exchange deal, after just over 50 appearances and two goals. After he left Italy, Cannavaro often spoke negatively of his spell at Inter, comparing the club unfavourably with his other Italian clubs, Parma and Juventus.
After a two-year stint, he signed for Juventus on the summer transfer window deadline day. The deal also involved the exchange of reserve goalkeeper Fabian Carini, who left for Inter, both players priced €10 million. By moving to Turin, he reunited with his ex-Parma teammates Lilian Thuram and Gianluigi Buffon, and together the threesome formed one of the most feared defences in the Serie A. Along with the likes of Gianluca Zambrotta, Gianluca Pessotto, Alessandro Birindelli, Jonathan Zebina and Federico Balzaretti. They went on to win two consecutive Scudetti in 2005 and 2006, although they suffered consecutive quarter final eliminations in the Champions League. In the former season, he was also paired with club icons Paolo Montero and Ciro Ferrara. Cannavaro also won four Oscar del Calcio awards, the Italian Football Oscars, for his exceptional seasons with the Turin giants, winning the 2005 defender of the year, the 2006 defender of the year award, the 2006 Italian player of the year, and the 2006 player of the year.
After the 2006 World Cup, the Calciopoli trial verdicts relegated Juventus to Serie B. Since Juventus were ineligible to qualify for the Champions League, Cannavaro decided to leave. "Even if I know this may be hard to believe, I would have stayed at Juventus had they remained in Serie A – even with a 30-point deduction." He followed Juve manager Fabio Capello to Real Madrid in the summer of 2006. In his two-year Scudetto-winning stint with Juventus, Cannavaro racked up over 100 total appearances in all competitions. His transfer was met with disappointment from the Juventus fans, who had accepted him as one of their own.
Real Madrid paid €7 million to sign Cannavaro, and gave him the No. 5 shirt that had previously been worn by former Madrid player and French international Zinedine Zidane. Cannavaro spent three seasons at Madrid, winning the La Liga title in 2006–07 and 2007–08, and being named the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year, also winning the 2006 Ballon d'Or. Cannavaro was elected as part of the 2006 and the 2007 FIFPro World XI squads, and the 2006 UEFA Team of the Year. He was named in the six man shortlist for the 2007 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.
During his final seasons in Madrid, Cannavaro's decline began to be evident, especially during the 2008–09 season. Due to his advanced age, he was often seen struggling when faced with pacy opponents such as Lionel Messi and Fernando Torres, leading to Real Madrid conceding any number of goals. On 19 May 2009, it was confirmed that Cannavaro would return to Juventus for the 2009–10 season at the conclusion of his contract. On his final match at he Bernabeu, he was given a standing ovation by the fans. In April 2013, Cannavaro was named by Marca as a member of the "Best foreign eleven in Real Madrid's history".
Return to Juventus
Three years after Cannavaro left Juventus, and following the end of his contract with Real Madrid, in the summer of 2009 he decided to return to the club. Cannavaro started the new season very well, forming good defensive partnerships with Nicola Legrottaglie, Martín Cáceres, Zdeněk Grygera, Fabio Grosso, and most notably Giorgio Chiellini, in front of Gianluigi Buffon. However from Autumn onwards Juventus' form took a turn for the worse. Having been injured for a while in late 2009, Cannavaro struggled with his own form both on his comeback and subsequently, and Juventus were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League, finishing third in their group.
In March 2010, his relationship with the Juventus supporters, already fragile due to a perceived betrayal of the club when he left for Real Madrid, reached an all-time low. In a Europa League tie against Fulham, Juventus, who had won the first leg 3–1 at home, were leading 1–0 at Craven Cottage in London. Early in the first half Cannavaro accumulated two bookings for reckless challenges and was sent off. Reduced to 10 men, Juventus collapsed to a 4–1 loss and were eliminated on aggregate. Cannavaro enraged supporters with the sending-off and its consequent role in the team's elimination. Juventus were also eliminated in the quarter finals of the Coppa Italia, to eventual champions and treble winners Inter.
The club finished the league season in seventh place, with only an Europa League spot; its worst Serie A finish for a decade. Juventus then confirmed that Cannavaro's contract wouldn't be renewed. His performances had become unreliable, so much so that his hometown club Napoli made no attempt to sign him and despite Cannavaro expressing his wish to rejoin the club on more than one occasion.
On 2 June 2010, it was announced that Cannavaro would move to UAE Football League side Al-Ahli on a free transfer after the 2010 World Cup. Cannavaro signed a two-year deal. He made 16 appearances for the Dubai club, with two goals. Cannavaro announced his retirement from football in July 2011 due to a serious knee problem; doctors had told him he could no longer play.
A year after his retirement from Al-Ahli, it was announced that he was joining the Indian league team Siliguri. In a footballers' auction whose line-up included names such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Hernán Crespo and Robbie Fowler, Cannavaro was bought by Siliguri for $830,000, exceeding his 'base price' by $50,000. The league never came to fruition and Cannavaro stayed in retirement.
Cannavaro's first taste of international success came over in the mid-1990s under coach Cesare Maldini with Italy's under-21 side, winning two consecutive European Under-21 Championship titles in 1994 and 1996. In 1996, he participated also at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He subsequently played for his country in the 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010 World Cups, as well as in the 2000 and 2004 European Championships.
He made his debut with the Italian national team on 22 January 1997, in a friendly game against Northern Ireland. The same year, he earned plaudits for his handling of England striker Alan Shearer in a World Cup qualifying game at Wembley. Shearer was then considered by the partisan English crowd to be the best striker in the world, and thought he would make fun of the inexperienced Italian defender. Nevertheless, in a display ranking alongside those of the very best Italian defenders Claudio Gentile and Franco Baresi, Cannavaro managed to keep Shearer quiet for the whole game; Italy winning the game 1–0 courtesy of a Gianfranco Zola goal.
Cannavaro's first international tournament came at 1998 World Cup alongside the experienced and capable Giuseppe Bergomi, Alessandro Costacurta, and Paolo Maldini, as well as the emerging Alessandro Nesta; the squad itself being coached by Paolo Maldini's father Cesare. Cannavaro made several strong performances throughout the tournament, although Italy eventually went out in the quarter-finals to hosts and eventual champions France, in a match where Cannavaro suffered a cut to his forehead following an elbow by Stéphane Guivarc'h. The Azzurri managed a 0–0 draw with the match eventually being decided by a penalty shoot-out in favour of the hosts.
In Euro 2000, it was Les Bleus who once again shattered Italy's dreams. Cannavaro had a strong tournament, playing as centre-back alongside either Alessandro Nesta, Mark Iuliano, or Paolo Maldini in 3–5–2 formation. The Italian defence only conceded two goals en route to the final, keeping three clean sheets: one against co-hosts Belgium in the group stage, one against Romania in the quarter-final, and one against co-hosts the Netherlands in the semi-final. The Azzurri reached the final after defeating the Netherlands on penalties following a goalless draw in regulation time. Italy led the then world champions France 1–0 going into injury time; however Sylvain Wiltord equalised in the final minute of injury time, and an extra-time golden goal from David Trezeguet gave France the title. Cannavaro was elected as part of the Team of the Tournament for his performances.
At the 2002 World Cup, he was credited with holding the defence together almost single-handedly after Alessandro Nesta was injured against Croatia. This injury, alongside several errors by match officials, dealt a severe blow to Italy's chances of winning the World Cup; the side having relied heavily on the Cannavaro-Nesta partnership in central defence. Marco Materazzi, who deputized for Nesta, put in performances that were below his usual standards. Cannavaro picked up two yellow card during the group stage and was suspended for the Round of 16 match. Italy went out controversially in the second round, losing to co-hosts and eventual semi-finalists South Korea, once again to a golden goal.
Cannavaro had a hard act to follow when he took over as captain from Maldini after the 2002 World Cup, but he quickly won the team over with his constant smile, laid-back Neapolitan approach and inspirational performances, helping Italy to qualify for Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. After Maldini's international retirement, he first captained Italy in a match in Naples and received a standing ovation on the pitch where he wore the local side's colours.
Cannavaro's first international goal was scored on 30 May 2004 against Tunisia; with Italy winning 4–0. Euro 2004, which was hosted by Portugal, turned out to be a disappointment. Cannavaro picked up yellow cards during the two draws with Denmark (0–0) and Sweden (1–1), forcing him to sit out the final group game. Italy defeated Bulgaria 2–1, but failed to advance on goal difference.
2006 World Cup
Cannavaro captained Italy throughout their successful 2006 World Cup campaign with aplomb. One of his key performances came against hosts Germany in the World Cup semi-finals 2006. His crowning moment was lifting the World Cup on 9 July 2006, the night of his 100th cap. Cannavaro did not receive a single yellow or red card during the 690 minutes he played in the tournament. His defensive performance in the final earned him the nickname of "Wall of Berlin", as the final was played in Berlin.
Along with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, Cannavaro played each minute of every match in the tournament for Italy. Even with usual defensive partner Alessandro Nesta out due to injury, the Italian defence conceded only two goals throughout the entire tournament: an own-goal against the United States and a Zinedine Zidane penalty in the final against France.
Cannavaro's marshalling of the Italian defence throughout their march to the final earned him a place in the All-Star Team at the end of the competition—awarded by FIFA's Technical Study Group—alongside six other Italian teammates: Gianluigi Buffon, Francesco Totti, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Luca Toni, and Gianluca Zambrotta. He was runner-up in the race for the Golden Ball, finishing behind French counterpart Zinedine Zidane; it was a close contest with Zidane polling 2012 points to Cannavaro's 1977.
On 2 June 2008, Cannavaro was injured during Italy's first training session for Euro 2008. He sustained a knock following a tackle by fellow defender Giorgio Chiellini and was carried off the field on a stretcher. Italian squad doctor Paolo Zeppilli said, "We have to do tests but it does not look like a minor injury." These tests consequently showed that he had torn ligaments in his left ankle. Right after the examinations, Italian journalists waited for Cannavaro, who told them simply, "I'm going home," with a melancholic smile on his face. With that news, Roberto Donadoni then called up Fiorentina centre-back Alessandro Gamberini as his official replacement. Alessandro Del Piero captained the team in his place. Cannavaro added that he would stay with the squad to offer support. This would have been Cannavaro's third Euro tournament.
Cannavaro has also put his plans to retire from the national team after Euro 2008 on hold and added that the injury had made him more determined than ever to captain Italy through the 2010 World Cup.
Record breaking caps
In a 2009 Confederations Cup match against Brazil, Cannavaro equalled Paolo Maldini's record of being Italy's most capped player, although Italy were disappointingly eliminated from the tournament in the group stage. On 12 August 2009, in a friendly match against Switzerland, Cannavaro became Italy's most capped player of all time. He won his 127th cap for his country, beating Maldini's former record of 126.
2010 World Cup
Cannavaro captained Italy at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The defending champions crashed out of the competition. losing to Slovakia after drawing against New Zealand and Paraguay. Following Italy's failure to progress past the group stage, Cannavaro announced his retirement from international football.
After his retirement, Cannavaro was appointed as a global brand ambassador and Technical Consultant of Al-Ahli Club of Dubai on 25 August 2011. After Cosmin Olăroiu takes as new head coach of Al-Ahli, Cannavaro was named as his first team coach and guided Al-Ahli to UAE Pro League and UAE League Cup titles in his first season in charge.
In June 2014, Cannavaro was linked to coaching staff post in his former side, Real Madrid to be replacing with Zinedine Zidane as assistant coach of Carlo Ancelotti. However, the post was given to Fernando Hierro.
On 5 November 2014, Cannavaro was named as new head coach of Chinese Super League title-holder and four time champion, Guangzhou Evergrande, replacing his former national team manager Marcelo Lippi. He was formally unveiled by the club on the same day.
Style of play
Cannavaro is regarded as one of the greatest defenders of his generation, and of all time, winning the World Cup as Italy's captain, as well as the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 2006. Although he predominantly excelled as a centreback, due to his ability to read the game, he was also deployed as a right or left sided fullback on occasion, in particular under his Inter coach Héctor Cúper. This was made possible due to Cannavaro's tactical versatility, technical ability, ball playing ability, stamina, and pace.
Cannavaro was known for his concentration, strength, anticipation, positioning and aerial ability, which made him particularly adept at defending crosses, or scoring with his head from set-pieces, despite his relatively small stature for a defender. He was a dynamic, consistent, and tenacious defender throughout his career, and also excelled as a man marker. Cannavaro was also known for his leadership, and was once the record appearance holder for the Italian national side, before being overtaken by Gianluigi Buffon. He holds the record for the most appearances as captain for Italy.
Cannavaro was sponsored by sportswear company Nike and appeared in Nike commercials. In a global Nike advertising campaign in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, Cannavaro starred in a "Secret Tournament" commercial (branded "Scopion KO") directed by Terry Gilliam, appearing alongside football players such as Thierry Henry, Ronaldo, Francesco Totti, Ronaldinho, Luís Figo and Hidetoshi Nakata, with former player Eric Cantona the tournament "referee". He was on the cover of the Italian edition of SCEE's This is Football 2003.
He married Daniela Arenoso (born 17 July 1974 in Naples) on 17 June 1996, they have three children, Christian (born 17 July 1999 in Naples), Martina (born 22 December 2001 in Naples), and Andrea (born 20 October 2004 in Naples).
His younger brother, Paolo, is also a defender who currently plays for Sassuolo. The two brothers played alongside each other at Parma from 2000 until 2002, when Fabio left for Inter. Before his retirement, Fabio had often expressed interest in ending his career with Paolo in a Napoli shirt.
With his fellow Napoletano Ciro Ferrara, Cannavaro has helped establish a charity foundation, Fondazione Cannavaro Ferrara, specialising in the procurement of cancer research equipment and surgery for special cases of cancer for a hospital in their native Naples.
The night before the 1999 UEFA Cup Final, a video tape was released which showed Cannavaro being injected with a substance. The substance was found to be neoton (phosphocreatine), which is used in cardiac surgery to protect the heart during periods of anoxia and stress. It is not on the banned substance list. This chemical is, in partnership with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), fundamental to the ability of the body to produce muscular energy. Phosphocreatine is formed naturally within the body, with over 95% of the compound stored within the muscle cells. The body also receives dietary creatine primarily through the consumption of meat. No action was ever taken regarding this incident.
On 8 October 2009, Cannavaro failed a drug test. Juventus, however, claimed that the drugs were medicine for a severe allergic reaction to a wasp sting, and not performance-enhancing. Because of the urgent nature of the treatment, Cannavaro could not ask for permission to CONI in time, which was done immediately afterwards. Apparently while awaiting the conclusion of formalities involved for CONI with granting this permission, he was subjected to the drug test that eventually gave the positive result. CONI later dropped charges against him.
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Europe||Total|
|2006–07||Real Madrid||La Liga||32||0||1||0||6||0||39||0|
|United Arab Emirates||League||President's Cup||Asia||Total|
|2010–11||Al-Ahli Dubai||UAE League||16||2||0||0||0||0||16||2|
- Also played 3 (1995, 1999, 2005) Supercoppa Italiana games.
- Also played 2 (2007) Supercopa de España games where he scored 1 goal.
|Italy senior team|
|1||30 May 2005||Radès, Tunisia||Tunisia||0–2||0–4||Friendly|
|2||6 February 2008||Geneve, Switzerland||Portugal||2–0||3–1||Friendly|
- As of 23 March 2015.
|Guangzhou Evergrande||5 November 2014||Present||7||5||2||0||71.43|
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- Fabio Cannavaro officially leaves Al Ahli, takes Guangzhou Evergrande helm
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- "[Esplora il significato del termine: Cannavaro e la nuova carriera da terzino destro "Se Cuper me lo chiede, gioco anche di punta"] Cannavaro e la nuova carriera da terzino destro "Se Cuper me lo chiede, gioco anche di punta"". Retrieved 19 July 2014.
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- "A lighter shoe, cooler kits, a faster ball, a Secret Tournament – every touch counts". NikeBiz (Nike). Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- Cozens, Claire (3 April 2002). "Cantona hosts World Cup with a difference". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 21 July 2012.
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- "Fabio Cannavaro". Football Database.eu. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
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- "Coni: Consegnati i Collari d’oro e diplomi d’onore ai campionissimi". Coni.it. 23 February 2014.
- "Cannavaro Sig. Fabio - Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana". http://www.quirinale.it/ (in Italian). 12 December 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- "Cannavaro Sig. Fabio - Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana". http://www.quirinale.it/ (in Italian). 12 July 2000. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fabio Cannavaro.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Fabio Cannavaro|
- Official website
- Fabio Cannavaro at Realmadrid.com
- Fabio Cannavaro – FIFA competition record
- Fabio Cannavaro – UEFA competition record
- Fabio Cannavaro at Football Lineups
|Italy national football team captain