x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Fabio Cannavaro not retiring kind

Former Italy captain denies reports he will retire from football and become a technical adviser at Al Ahli, saying that he intends to play out the second year of his two-season contract with the Dubai club.

Fabio Cannavaro denied reports that he will retire from football and become a technical adviser at Al Ahli, saying that he intends to play out the second year of his two-season contract with the Dubai club.

"It may be a possibility in the future, but I am still a player and I want to wear the club's logo until the end of my contract," he said in an interview with the Pro League's website, ufl.ae. "Besides, I have not yet decided when I will retire."

Cannavaro, the 2006 Fifa World Player of the Year, who turns 38 in September, conceded that Ahli had a difficult time last season, finishing eighth in the 12-team table. He cited injuries and the absences of key players as well as coaching turmoil, as David O'Leary was dismissed in April.

"Changing coaches is not a good idea and UAE football suffers every season from this issue," Cannavaro said. "Change does not mean you will win with a new coach and achieve victories, but rather it causes instability in the team as the new coach needs some time for the players to adapt his new plans, which are always different than the previous coach."

He played 16 of 22 league matches as a knee injury in March contributed to his missing five of the final eight league games. Cannavaro said he hopes to inspire Emirati players, in that: "My ambition with Al Ahli is to be an example for the local players. They must learn that professionalism is the path to success."

He said he is in favour of expanding the league to 14 clubs and would like to see a reduction in the long breaks on the schedule so that the season can end after and before the hottest months.

He said more attention needs to be paid to developing young players as: "There is a lack of modern scientific methods in youth development within the UAE, and the clubs also need to have expert coaches for the youth as the young players must learn the correct methods and the basic skills before joining the first team."

In Cannavaro's opinion, Ahli are "going in the right direction" and he said that the addition of Diego Maradona to the league, as coach at Al Wasl, is a good thing.

"He is the player of the century and has excellent technical skills, which will have a good impact on the Al Wasl team and UAE football, in general," Cannavaro said.

As for those reports of him hanging up his boots?

"Maybe after retiring I will become a coach, as I have good experience in coaching. I was trained under very famous coaches in the Italian national team, Read Madrid, Juventus, Internazionale and Parma. It won't be difficult for me to lead Al Ahli."