Paolo Cannavaro will link up with his brother and Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao coach Fabio in China after the Sassuolo defender announced his playing days are over.
Paolo will play his final game for Sassuolo when the Serie A side take Roma on Saturday before joining the seven-time reigning Chinese Super League champions.
Cannavaro set to hang up his boots
The 36-year-old is set to join the backroom staff of former Italy captain and World Cup-winner Fabio, who is back as Evergrande boss after replacing Luiz Felipe Scolari in November. "I wanted to leave a mark on and off the pitch," Paolo Cannavaro told reporters. "My ambition was too strong, and for this, I thank president [Giorgio] Squinzi and [Giovanni] Carnevali. They’re giving me an opportunity that isn't easy to grant mid-season. There are human values and fantastic alchemy here, which you don't get at other clubs. I'm leaving home.
"I'll assist Fabio 360 degrees as a technical collaborator. I can coach those who play less during the season. It'll be a full-on experience for me, a huge leap. Saturday? It'll be a strange feeling. I won't miss the field because it's a decision I've made, but I will miss being around my team mates", he continued.
Cannavaro relishing China opportunity
"China? The city will be new. I've been there twice but only for summer tours. Only lately have I been preparing myself for it because I was too focused on doing well here until the last day. It'll be a new year and a new life. Knowing that I'm quitting football but still doing something that keeps me busy is a privilege. Chinese will be difficult to learn, so we'll settle for English. Relationship with Fabio? I haven't had much of a life with him. Getting back together didn't happen for several years. I wanted us to do so in the future as opportunities always presented themselves. I can't wait to start", he ended.