The news of Fabio Cannavaro’s very likely return to Juventus has sparked heated debate amongst the Bianconeri faithful. While he’s widely regarded as a traitor for leaving the club at its darkest hour in the aftermaths of the Calciopoli scandal when players such as Alessandro Del Piero, Gianluigi Buffon, Pavel Nedved, David Trezeguet and Muari Camoranesi became heroes for remaining, many also seem to welcome the news of the center back’s return to the Old Lady.
After spending three years in the Spanish capital with La Liga giants Real Madrid, where he’s won two league titles, the 2006 World Cup winner looks set to rejoin his former club.
I was initially siding with the group that protested his return but, although I’m far from being a fan of Cannavaro’s, I have come to realize after much thinking that there might actually some perks in bringing him back. I know that a big part of the Juventus supporters hate this man very passionately, but hear me out.
The past season has showcased that Juventus are in dire need of capable defenders and although Cannavaro is turning 36 years old in September this is only a short term solution to the club’s immediate defensive difficulties. According to reports from the Peninsula Cannavaro has been offered a one-year deal with the option of a yet another depending on his the level of his performances.
Even though Cannavaro hardly is the player he was during the 2006 World Cup there is not a doubt that he’s still a class player. The Spanish La Liga is a league that prioritizes the attack which naturally means that the defense is bound to be left exposed during major parts of the game. The same can’t be said in Italy where most of the game is approached with tactical precision. Just look at Paolo Maldini who is close to finishing another amazing season at age 40.
The pairing of Nicola Legrottaglie and Giorgio Chiellini in the center defense has worked wonders during the majority of the season but when the latter is out injured or suspended it tends to leave the backline extremely vulnerable. Although Legrottaglie’s performances have been admirable at times, unlike Chiellini, his center defense partner lacks the leadership qualities on the field.
Cannavaro has the winning mentality I dare say quite a few players in the squad does not. On top of that he’s a natural leader on the pitch and not to mention a good role model as well. With Cannavaro next to him perhaps Chiellini could take that last step in order to become the “furioclasse” he is destined to be and thus reach his full potential.
Cannavaro provides stability and a sense of security and what he lacks in speed he makes up with experience. Another positive aspect with the former Juventus man is that he and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has had years of experience of playing together which means that the duo knows each other exceptionally well. Let’s not also forget that the former Juventusman has a very good relationship to the players (and the directors too I dare say).
According to the player himself it was the club that wanted to sell him but whether or not that is true we may never know. Nonetheless one has to take into consideration that the Real Madrid man has not uttered any negative words about his former employers and also decided to go abroad instead of moving to another Italian side.
The 2006 Ballon d’Or winner can almost certainly count on continual protests and being jeered by the home crowd should his return to Juventus be finalized, but that’s where he has to let his actions on the pitch do the talking. Maybe someday he’ll be able to earn back the trust and praise from the Bianconeri faithful who once raised him towards the sky.
If the above isn’t enough and worst comes to worst, at least the club landed him on Bosman. Knowing Alessio Secco and his competent co-workers, things could have been much worse.