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Sun 4 Jul 2010 09:32 AM

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Al Ahli FC welcomes Italian star Cannavaro

UPDATE 3: Ex Leeds coach David O'Leary to join Fabio Cannavaro at Dubai club.

Al Ahli FC welcomes Italian star Cannavaro
NEW SIGNING: Italian football star Fabio Cannavaro. (Getty Images)

Fabio Cannavaro, the former FIFA World Player of the Year, was on Sunday officially unveiled as the latest signing by Dubai-based Al Ahli football club.

Italian captain Cannavaro has played for Napoli, Parma, Inter Milan and Juventus and Spanish giants Real Madrid.

On the sidelines of a press conference in Dubai on Sunday, Mark Bell, sporting director of the club, also confirmed David O'Leary would join the club as coach, adding there would be no further comment about the appointment for now.

He added that Cannavaro would be Al Ahli team captain for next season.

Cannavaro, who has played in four World Cups in 1998, 2002, 2006 and this year, told reporters that he had no plans to put his name to any Dubai football academies but added that he was "open to anything in the future".

He said: "Al Ahli is a club that looks to the future and I would like to end my career here."

He achieved his 100th cap for Italy at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and led the Italian side to victory for the first time in 24 years.

His performance won him the title of FIFA World Player of the Year award, making him the only defender to receive the title.

“I'm happy to sign for Al Ahli,” Cannavaro said in a statement in June. “I always thought of moving to live in Dubai as I love it and I have achieved my dream by moving to Dubai and play for one of its big clubs like Al Ahli.”

Cannavaro has 132 international caps and is believed to have rejected offers from Italy to play in Dubai when the new season starts in mid-September.

According to the Dubai Sports Council’s official website, Al Ahli was founded in 1970. It was run by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, now the Ruler of Dubai, and today his son Sheikh Hamdan is chairman of the club.

The club has won titles at Arabian, Gulf and continental levels, the website says.

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Markus 10 years ago

Why is no one even coming close to asking Cannavaro about his performance in the South Africa world cup? Are we afraid of hurting his feelings?

His Excellency Dr Paul 10 years ago

You managed to write an article full of praise and celebration of historic successes while making no mention whatsoever of recent form which was a total disaster. It's just like reading business stories on AB!

Frank Forsberg 10 years ago

I was asking myself the reason for the purchase. I mean the business model. I know why Real Madrid, Barcelona etc. buy; they want to increase revenues twice or three times above the cost. This case? not even close, not happening. then maybe I was thinking like my country US where David Beckam was signed. Same reason, he did increase MLS value and revenues more than what he is getting. Then I thought maybe they want to learn from Cannavaro. No way, because they could get Leo Beenhakker half of that money and many more years and they could learn wonders from him. So if anybody knows the benefits, since this is not a CEO/coach hiring where the older he gets the better, please enlighten me.

ron 10 years ago

What about WC 2010. It's obvious. To end his career. No longer competitive and good enough for demanding European league.