The former Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro has spoken about the Azzurri’s hopes for the World Cup of next year. The 40-year-old is one of the eight former players who will be participating in the World Cup drawings ceremony that will be held tomorrow in Brazil.
Following is the English translation of interview reported by the Gazzetta dello Sport from which the 2006 World Cup captain winner has expressed his opinions.
What kind of World Cup will be for Italy the one in Brazil?
“It will be extremely hard for the Azzurri, especially for logistic and climatic problems, such as the constant trips and both the hot and cold temperatures. However, Italy is doing a great job and will definitely improve in the next months.”
Is it possible to compare the Italy of 2006 to the current one?
“Not really, only because the one of 2006 won and so the comparisons are to be done at the end. The current team, however, is characterized by a nice mix of veterans and young players: Prandelli is doing a great job.”
Is the current team the Italy of Balotelli?
No. Italy is always based on a solid group. It is not conceivable to rely on only one man. The most important factor is the team spirit, just like in 2006. Balotelli is great but this Italy is mostly based on Buffon, Pirlo, De Rossi, Barzagli, Rossi, and many more.”
What about Totti?
“I must admit that I used to think that Totti should go to the World Cup. But I have changed my mind because it would be a huge responsibility for him: if he goes and Italy doesn’t perform well, all the blame would be mistakenly attributed to him. Francesco would not deserve a similar treatment.”
What teams represent the biggest rivals for Italy?
“Naturally, Brazil is the first team that comes to mind because of the advantage of playing at home. Then, we have Argentina, Spain, Holland and Portugal. It won’t be easy.”
What do you think of Italy not being top-seeded and then FIFA’s president Joseph Blatter arranging the pots on his own way?
“Honestly, the whole situations makes you think about certain things, but it’s also truth that it all depended on the FIFA Rankings.
Has your relationship with Blatter improved?
“But of course. He even came to Coverciano and gave us the World Cup trophy. Besides, the important thing is to win, not who gives the cup.”
Have you talked to Zidane about the final of 2006?
“No. Let’s avoid this subject.”
In order to win, does Italy need to be defensive?
“Absolutely no. Italy wins relying on the organization of the whole team. In 2006, we beat Germany with four attackers and Pirlo in the field. Considering this, I would not say that we were defensive.”
What do you think about Juventus manager Antonio Conte?
“Conte hardly ever makes a wrong decision. Without a doubt, his Juventus is the main candidate for the Serie A title.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I will be a coach. In June, I will have completed the course.”
Do you hope to manage Juventus?
“No. Conte will stay with the Bianconeri for much longer. He is in a perfect situation there.”