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Fabio Cannavaro
Personal Data
Name: Fabio
Surname: Cannavaro
Date of Birth: 13 Sep 1973
Birth Place: Naples
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 72 kg
Italy's national soccer team defender Fabio Cannavaro poses at the Coverciano training camp near Florence 27 May 2004, two weeks before the start of the Euro 2004.  AFP PHOTO/VINCENZO PINTO
Career
Position: Defender
Clubs: Napoli (1991-95), Parma (1995-2002), Inter Milan (since 2002)
International appearances: 78
International debut: 22/01/1997, Italy-Northern Ireland (2-0)
Last international appearance: 30/05/2004, Tunisia-Italy (0-4)

World Cup

Appearances : 2 (1998, 2002), 8 matches

Quarter-finals (1998), Second round (2002)

European Championships

Appearances: 1 (2000), 6 matches, 0 goals

Finalist (2000)

UEFA Cup

Winner (1999)

Italian Cup

Winner (1999, 2002)

Italian Supercup

Winner (1999)

Biography

Handsome reward

Turkey's forward Ilhan Mansiz (R) fights for the ball with Italy's defender Fabio Cannavaro during their friendly match 20 November 2002,  in Pescara. AFP PHOTO GABRIEL BOUYS
Turkey's forward Ilhan Mansiz (R) fights for the ball with Italy's defender Fabio Cannavaro during their friendly match 20 November 2002, in Pescara. AFP PHOTO GABRIEL BOUYS

Though he once achieved the not inconsiderable feat of being voted Italy's sexiest man, Fabio Cannavaro's greatest honour is probably his role as captain of the soccer mad nation's football team since Paolo Maldini stepped down in 2002.

Cannavaro had previously been part of a top-class three man defence in the Italy side along with Maldini and Alessandro Nesta, and as the more experienced man was the logical choice to take up the vacant captaincy.

Italian Fabio Cannavaro (L) goes for a header against Dutch Philip Cocu (R) in front of the goals during the Euro 2000 semi-final soccer match Italy vs The Netherlands 29 June 2000,  in Amsterdam.  AFP PHOTO/FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (ELECTRONIC IMAGE)
Italian Fabio Cannavaro (L) goes for a header against Dutch Philip Cocu (R) in front of the goals during the Euro 2000 semi-final soccer match Italy vs The Netherlands 29 June 2000, in Amsterdam. AFP PHOTO/FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (ELECTRONIC IMAGE)

Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni switched to a 4-4-2 line up in Euro 2004 qualifying and the Cannavaro led backline conceded only four goals in eight matches, putting the Italians amongst the favourites to do well in Portugal.

He played in every match of Italy's Euro 2000 run to the final only to experience the agony of a golden goal defeat to France.

However, he will be long remembered as one of the side that gave Europe a lesson in defending under Dino Zoff's stone wall tactics, above all in holding a marauding Holland team to 0-0 in the semi-final despite playing most of the match with ten men.

Sweet taste of success

Italian team AC Parma celebrates their victory in the UEFA Cup final against Olympique Marseille in Moscow, Wednesday 12 May 1999. Parma won 3-0.  ELECTRONIC IMAGE
Italian team AC Parma celebrates their victory in the UEFA Cup final against Olympique Marseille in Moscow, Wednesday 12 May 1999. Parma won 3-0. ELECTRONIC IMAGE

After Maldini's international retirement he first captained Italy in a match at Napoli and received a standing ovation on the pitch where he sported the local side's colours between 1991 and 1995.

Before a blockbuster transfer to Inter Milan after the 2002 World Cup he spent seven successful seasons with Parma, winning the Italian cup in 1999 and 2002.

He described winning the UEFA Cup in 1999, where Parma beat Marseille 3-0 in Moscow, as his sweetest footballing moment. As he admitted weeping on leaving 'homey' Parma, perhaps that would count as his saddest one.

World Cup man and boy

His first experience of the World Cup came at Italia 90, though no blame can be attached to him for the semi-final defeat to Argentina. He was merely a ball boy at the Stadio San Paolo along with his fellow Napoli youth team members, who witnessed the club's star Diego Maradona help defeat Italy.

Mexico's defender Salvador Carmona ducks and watches the ball fly by after a mid-air strike by Italy's defender Fabio Cannavaro during match 43 group G of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea Japan 13 June, 2002 in Oita, Japan. AFP PHOTO GABRIEL BOUYS
Mexico's defender Salvador Carmona ducks and watches the ball fly by after a mid-air strike by Italy's defender Fabio Cannavaro during match 43 group G of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea Japan 13 June, 2002 in Oita, Japan. AFP PHOTO GABRIEL BOUYS

He acquitted himself well at the 1998 World Cup in France when Italy were edged in another penalty shoot out against the hosts in the quarter-finals, with Cannavaro, who had sustained a facial injury, playing in a protective mask during the tournament.

At the 2002 World Cup he was credited with holding the defence together almost singlehandedly after Alessandro Nesta was injured against Croatia. Italy however went out amidst a refereeing controversy losing to co-hosts South Korea in the second round, again cruelly to a golden goal.