Remembering Fabio Cannavaro's performance vs Germany at the 2006 World Cup

Fabio Cannavaro was the key man in Italy's 2006 World Cup triumph

It's a true anomaly when a defender wins the Ballon d'Or.

Since the turn of the millennium, the feat has only been achieved by one man - Fabio Cannavaro.

The Italian legend earned the accolade in 2006 for his astonishing performances at the World Cup that summer.

Italy were crowned champions after beating France in the final, a game which is most remembered for Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutt on Marco Materrazzi.

But the Azzurri's semi-final victory over Germany is simply recalled for Italy's brilliance, most notably the performance of Cannavaro.

The ex-Juventus and Real Madrid centre-back delivered a display which is quite possibly the greatest 90 minutes of defensive action from a single player of all time.

Despite standing at just 5'9", Cannavaro won every single aerial duel against the likes of Miroslav Klose, a player renowned for his prowess in the air.

Below, you'll find a short montage of Cannavaro's highlights from the game, one which helped him win football's most prestigious personal award some months later.


Wow, wow, wow!

Blocks, interceptions, last-ditch tackles, perfect positioning, composure on the ball, a few pinpoint passes and a decisive challenge to set up Italy's second and match-winning goal - the complete performance from the captain.

Cannavaro's career after the 2006 World Cup sadly began to decline due to his advancing age.

He moved to Real Madrid that summer after Juventus were hit by the Calciopoli scandal and he never really rediscovered his best form in the Spanish capital.

Cannavaro with Real Madrid

The Italian stalwart returning to Juve in 2009 for a single season, before joining UAE League side Al-Ahli after the 2010 World Cup.

He's now the manager of Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande, guiding the team to the league title in 2019.

But whatever he does as a manager will simply never top that magical night against Germany nearly 14 years ago.

It truly was a once in a generation performance, one that even Virgil van Dijk would struggle to replicate.

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