Italian World Cup winner and Juventus star Fabio Cannavaro has revealed that he was snubbed by his former side Real Madrid for assistant manager’s role in favor of French great Zinedine Zidane.

While his defensive partner was busy luring Zidane into the infamous head-butt that saw the latter sent off in his final game, Cannavaro was busy ensuring that the Italian defence held the French side to a 0-0 draw, and eventually a penalty shoot-out win in the 2006 World Cup final.

Following the World Cup, Zidane won the Player of the Tournament and retired, while Cannavaro secured a move to Real Madrid as well as becoming the only defender to be crowned FIFA World Player of the Year, the equivalent of the FIFA Balon d’Or back then.

Fabio Cannavaro reveals Real Madrid snub

The Italian defender, apparently, was in consideration for the role that eventually went to French and Real Madrid great Zinedine Zidane, who became the Real Madrid assistant manager to Rafael Benitez.

Revealing the role played by president Florentino Perez, the legendary defender was quoted saying by, as told to Cadena Ser:

“I think it was Florentino who decided to choose Zidane and not me.

“We can only say that Benitez is a good coach for Madrid at the end of the season if he wins titles. We all know the club culture and mentality of the fans.”

Cannavaro admits admiration for Lionel Messi

Revealing how the dimunitive Argentine destroyed Juventus in his first game, the Italian legend spoke of his admiration for Lionel Messi, stating that he could predict then itself the great heights the FC Barcelona star could reach.

“I remember Messi’s first game, in a friendly against Juventus, he already killed us, you could tell he would be a phenomenon.


Cannavaro has jumped into management role following his retirement and is now at Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr.