Italian star Fabio Cannavaro has announced his retirement from football.Italian star Fabio Cannavaro has announced his retirement from football.
The 37-year-old, who captained Italy to World Cup glory in Germany in 2006, has been told by doctors that an injury to his knee means he will have to end his 19-year professional career.
Cannavaro - the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2006 - joined Dubai club Al-Ahli in June 2010 after leaving Juventus but missed their last seven games of the season with the knee problem.
The Italian, who began his career at Napoli before going on to play for Parma, Inter Milan, Juve and Real Madrid, said he would take up a role as a technical advisor with Al-Ahli.
"I'm very sad - football is everything for me in my life," said Cannavaro, who holds the record for the most appearances for Italy (136).
"It's not a simple thing. Everyone says it has to come, but when it comes, it's a decision you have to face."
"I came back to Dubai to continue training. Unfortunately, the medical examiner didn't permit me to continue."
"My knee can no longer cope with playing, but I will be staying here for the next three years in an executive role."
Al-Ahli president Abdullah al-Naboodah said the club would gain much from having a man of Cannavaro's pedigree around.
"Nineteen years of experience will definitely benefit the club," al-Naboodah said. "Fabio is a World Cup winner and played at the highest level in Europe. All that on his CV will benefit us at Al-Alhi."