Italy and Real Madrid centre-back Fabio Cannavaro, this year’s FIFA World Player, mixed his happiness at winning the award with a spiked message that all those who rubbished his candidature for the Ballon D’Or should now clam up.
“For a defender it’s so much more difficult when you’re competing alongside footballers of the calibre of Zidane or Ronaldinho. It’s almost as if we start off with a handicap but the World Cup conquest obviously helped a lot”, explained the Italian as he landed in the Swiss city.
“This year has been incredible and I couldn’t ask for more. For me it’s a really important day and it’s also important that my critics realise that and stop getting at me”, he added. “For years everybody has been whining about why a defender doesn’t get this sort of award and when one does they criticise him!”
“It’s a kind of revenge, although I don’t take this sort of criticism seriously or personally. I’m not that kind of person and I know that it’s fair to award this type of prize to a defender who’s had an exceptional year, not complain because it’s going to somebody who is purely concerned with defensive tasks”, he stressed.
“I’ve got a lot to thank to the two Coaches who’ve influenced me the most; Capello and Lippi. When you watch a Barcelona game it’s charming, but the World Cup showed us that playing charming football doesn’t equate winning. Winning is what Capello is concerned with”, he explained, defending the Coaches that led him to Scudetto and World Cup glory.
Ronaldinho also backed up the award sportingly as he arrived, visibly drained, after his long-haul flight from Japan. “There’s a defined role for every player on the field. He (Cannavaro) is the best defender in the world and that’s what he has to do: defend. I try to do what I can on the field, he does what he can on the pitch too. I think he deserved it”, explained the outgoing incumbent.