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Cannavaro: "Real Madrid need players like Kylian Mbappé"

The former Real Madrid and Italy defender spoke to AS to discuss the PSG forward, Iker Casillas, Andrés Iniesta and that Zidane headbutt in the 2006 World Cup final.

Fabio Cannavaro, en el Guangzhou chino.

Former Real Madrid defender Fabio Cannavaro spoke to AS in an interview on social media during which he discussed his current role as a coach in China, why Florentino Pérez should go all out for PSG forward Kylian Mbappé, Iker Casillas, his admiration for Andrés Iniesta and that Zinedine Zidane headbutt on Marco Materazzi. 

"Real Madrid need players like Mbappé, a young star who could follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo," Cannavaro said. "It's normal that Madrid want to sign him but it also has to be taken into account that PSG's owners don't need the money; they are ambitious and they want to win the Champions League. I think it will be difficult for Madrid to get him. The president of PSG is a person who wants to win, I know them well and they will fight tooth and nail to keep Mbappé." 

Cannavaro, who is currently the coach of Guangzhou Evergrande in China, also spoke about the possibility of returning to the Bernabéu in a coaching capacity under Zidane, whose number 5 he inherited when he signed for Real Madrid in 2006. "Of course I'd like to come back, that's what I'm working towards. My career as a player can help me in that respect but first I have to do well as a coach to get there. I have my staff and my system. I'm used to running a club, not just performing the role of a coach. I asked my president to build a training complex and it's beautiful. I have also helped with the new stadium and it'll be ready in three years. I've shown them everything from how to cut the grass to sorting out the dressing rooms." 

Cannavaro: Zidane's Materrazi headbutt was a "huge mistake"

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Cannavaro was on the pitch in 2006 when Italy won the World Cup in a game that will always be remembered for Zidane flooring Materazzi in extra time and being sent off in his final game as a professional. "I have the utmost respect for Zidane and what he has achieved in football but I think he made a mistake there, a huge one. It was a shame to see him go like that in his last game. People say whatever they want on the pitch but it should be left at that. It's not that Materazzi was at fault, they both were. I still remember the sound of the impact. I remember it very well, it was pretty hard." 

The 2006 Ballon d'Or winner also revealed that he enjoyed a special friendship with Iker Casillas at Real Madrid: "I had an amazing relationship with him, we had three great seasons together. We used to make fun of each other. He'd shout 'come on grandad, move it!' and I'd say 'let's see if you save anything today, you're knackered,' It kept the squad lively because players like Marcelo and Ramos were quieter." 

"Everybody was watching Messi but I was watching Iniesta"

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On Iniesta, Cannavaro said the former Barça and Spain star might have played in "the second best team in Spain" but that he was a joy to watch. "He played with such style, you couldn't help but love him when you saw him play. He was a perfect professional, very humble.. I loved him. Everybody might have been watching Messi but I was watching Iniesta." 


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