11/20/2022 at 21:53


    The eldest of a saga of brothers with the same common denominator: tough central defenders born to lead; key figure of the fourth wound of the ‘azzurra’

    Neapolitan, haughty and a fierce competitor, ‘Il Bello’ managed to make a name for himself at Juventus, his city’s staunch rival

    Marcello Lippi’s Italy only conceded two goals in the 2006 World Cup. The seasoned coach from Tuscany built a perfect and precise machine, seamless and disconnecting any rival offense. And at the epicenter of all that transalpine precision gear was Fabio Cannavaro. ‘Il Bello’, ‘Il Muro’.

    The Neapolitan central defender arrived in Germany in a mature phase. 32 years old and a tremendous ancestry. Lippi blindly trusted a footballer who would take the step of signing for Real Madrid that same summer. Without being tall, he had a frame that was pure concrete. He was a born leader and no one disputed his hierarchy. He spent 90 minutes directing, like a general on the battlefield. A framework like the one that Lippi had armed at a defensive level suited Fabio like a glove.


    Flanked by Marco Materazzi, who was not exactly known for taking prisoners either, and in front with Gennaro Gattuso and Simone Perrotta, two old-school bulldogs. The ‘frills’ were the work of Francesco Totti and Andrea Pirlo. With Luca Toni lowering washers in the axis of the rear. Curiously, the best years of ‘Il Muro’ were when theoretically it should have started its decline. Between 2004 and 2008.

    From that unforgettable 2006 for him (World Cup and Ballon d’Or, the only one who has achieved a defense in the history of the trophy) The famous headbutt from Zidane to Materazzi will remain in the memory of the final at the Berlin Olympic Stadium. Behind that there was a new defensive display from Lippi’s ‘ragazzi’. If Cannavaro could be defined by anything, perhaps it would be his ability to perform in the most ‘hot’ and decisive moments. His performances that summer of 2006 in Germany would remain to be remembered. Rarely has a defender had such enormous significance.