REAL MADRID

Fabio Cannavaro recalls stressful start to life at Real Madrid: "I told Capello I couldn't take any more"

The Italian defender joined in 2006: "Christmas was approaching and I still didn't have a house, I was living in a hotel. I told Capello I needed to rest," he explained to Sky.

Fabio Cannavaro recalls stressful start to life at Real Madrid: "I told Capello I couldn't take any more"
JAVIER SORIANO AFP

Italian former defender Fabio Cannavaro recalled his painful start to life at Real Madrid, but on the plus side, at least he was able to get to know another side of coach Fabio Capello, who he had known since their time together at Juventus.

"At first, it wasn't easy - I had three very difficult months there. In Spain, the kind of football they play is competely different, it's more individual, not so much a collective team game," explained Cannavaro, who arrived at the Bernabeu after lifting the World Cup with Italy in 2006.

Cannavaro's initial struggles in Madrid

The centre-back also won that year's Ballon d'Or but admitted that he struggled adapting to life in the Spanish capital. "It was getting near to Christmas and I still hadn't found a place to live in, I was living in a hotel. I arranged to meet Capello and told him that I couldn't take any more, I asked him to rest me. He looked at me and said very clearly: 'You didn't understand, I'm not leaving you out of the team,'" Cannavaro told Sky Sports Italia.

"It was at Madrid that I started to understand his qualities, that was where I got to know the real Capello. At Juve, he had a very strong team - in the World Cup final in Berlin against France, a large part of the Italy team were Juventus players. I Spain though, we managed to win LaLiga clawing back a seven-point disadvantage against Barcelona," he ended.