Chinese Super League

He ain’t heavy! Cannavaro brothers reunite to conquer Asia after Paolo retires to join Fabio at Guangzhou Evergrande

Defender plays last Serie A game this weekend before taking up the challenge of retaining the Chinese Super League and winning Champions League

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 December, 2017, 1:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 December, 2017, 10:57pm

Paolo Cannavaro will play his last Serie A game this weekend before retiring to take up a coaching role with his brother at Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande.

The younger Cannavaro will call time on a 20-year playing career after Sassuolo’s match against Roma on Saturday before joining brother Fabio in southern China.

Cannavaro announced on Thursday that Sassuolo’s Serie A match at Roma will be his last.

“A new year, a new life … it will be an odd feeling. I won’t miss the field because it’s a decision I’ve made, but I will miss being around my teammates,” he said.

While he never gained a cap for the full national side, Cannavaro represented his country up to under-21 level and spent most of his career in the Italian top flight.

His career began at his hometown club Napoli as a teenager before playing alongside Fabio at Parma.

After six seasons with the Gialloblu, Cannavaro returned to Napoli via a season at Hellas Verona and spent eight seasons in Naples before joining Sassuolo in 2014.

Fabio Cannavaro, who won the World Cup with Italy as a player in 2006, was announced as Guangzhou Evergrande coach last month. It will be his second time as the manager of the Chinese champions after a seven-month stint in 2015.

Last season he finished third in the Chinese Super League with newly promoted Tianjin Quanjian, securing a place in the AFC Champions League play-offs and being named manager of the year before rejoining Evergrande.

Paolo Cannavaro, the younger brother at 36, says his job “will be that of assisting Fabio 360 degrees as technical collaborator. I can coach the reserves, those who play a bit less during the season.”

He added: “Chinese will be difficult to learn, we’ll settle for English.”

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Guangzhou Evergrande have won the Chinese Super League title for seven seasons in a row and have twice been champions of Asia.

Additional reporting Associated Press