"I was close to signing" - Fabio Cannavaro admits he nearly moved to Chelsea instead of Real Madrid in 2006


Fabio Cannavaro has revealed that he came close to joining Chelsea from Juventus before his eventual move to Real Madrid in 2006.

Earlier that year, the legendary defender captained Italy to FIFA World Cup glory. His solid defensive performances during the tournament, which helped his team keep five clean sheets and concede only two goals, even earned him the prestigious Ballon d'Or.

Cannavaro also led Juventus to the 2006 Serie A title, but the Turin giants were stripped of their honor due to allegations of match-fixing made against the club. The Calciopoli scandal, as it came to be known, also saw the Bianconeri demoted to Serie B. As a result of the controversy, the World Cup winner wanted to leave the club to play top-flight football.

A host of European giants, including Roman Abramovich's Chelsea, were interested in the centre-back's services once word got out that he wanted to leave Juventus. However, it was Real Madrid who ended up signing him on a three-year contract for €7 million.

Cannavaro has now admitted that he was very close to joining the Blues that summer. He told The Telegraph:

"I was close to signing [for Chelsea] when I was at Juventus. A friend of mine called me and asked me if I would go to Chelsea. I knew they were interested but in the end I moved to Madrid, and of course Fabio Capello was there."

Cannavaro spent three seasons at Real Madrid, making 118 appearances for the club across all competitions. He won two La Liga titles and 1 Spanish Super Cup during that period.

Fabio Cannavaro considered for managerial jobs in the Premier League

In the same interview, Fabio Cannavaro admitted that he is keen on managing a club in Europe. The 48-year-old revealed that he was interviewed for the vacant managerial role at Premier League club Everton before Frank Lampard landed the job. He said:

"I met the owner and he was so clear with me. I explained to him my philosophy, my strategy. But of course it's understandable when you have the opportunity to take Lampard who stays [in England], who knows better than me, maybe, the Premier League."

Cannavaro added that he was also under consideration for the managerial role at Watford after the club sacked Xisco Munoz. However, the job was eventually given to former England boss Roy Hodgson. The former Real Madrid man said:

"(At Watford) They spoke to me before Roy Hodgson (was appointed) but they needed a coach quickly. But it was an honour to speak with them and it's important that I have started to have these conversations."

Cannavaro has a fair bit of managerial experience, having enjoyed stints at Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr as well as Chinese clubs Guangzhou Evergrande and Tianjin Quanjian.

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