Fabio Cannavaro: Italian FIFA World Cup-Winning Captain Forced to Retire

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJuly 9, 2011

BERLIN - JULY 09:  The Italian players celebrate as Fabio Cannavaro of Italy lifts the World Cup trophy aloft following victory in a penalty shootout at the end of the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Final match between Italy and France at the Olympic Stadium on July 9, 2006 in Berlin, Germany.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Fabio Cannavaro has been forced to retire at the age of 37 because of a persistent knee injury.

Cannavaro’s future at Al Ahli seemed uncertain after the Dubai club went over its foreign player quota, having signed former Inter Milan player Luis Jiménez.

Reuters Africa reported Cannavaro stating: “I have decided to stop playing after a medical examination in Italy last week. Doctors have told me clearly that I can no longer play.”

Cannavaro played 16 games last season for the Dubai club, having signed from Juventus last year.

At just 1.77m (5'9.5'') tall, Cannavaro lacked the height of a centre back, but he compensated with heart, positional awareness and uncanny leaping ability.

During the 2002 FIFA World Cup, he watched from the bench as referee Byron Moreno dashed his dreams of lifting the World Cup.

Four years later in Germany, Cannavaro captained Italy to World Cup triumph over France.

That same year, he also became the first ever defender to win the FIFA World Player of the Year.

Though his final years were tumultuous, as he was part of a struggling Juventus outfit, he failed a drugs test (he was later acquitted) and he captained Italy during their disappointing 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign.

Cannavaro retires with an illustrious CV, with the likes of Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid as former employers.

Cannavaro has agreed to stay in Dubai for three years as an advisor to Al Ahli.