During three years with Real Madrid, Fabio Cannavaro, the Azzurri captain, has seen the agony and the ecstasy. Two La Liga titles, but mounting criticism over his defensive lapses.
Sunday was his last game at the Santiago Bernabeu against Mallorca. Next season, he will return to Juventus of the Serie A to finish his illustrious career.
In the 55th minute, he was substituted by manager, Juande Ramos. Please scroll to 4:15 of the video to watch the unexpected reaction by appreciative Real Madrid supporters.
"Incredibile, eh? E' stata una pessima serata, abbiamo perso, la gente era stufa, eppure hanno trovato la voglia di salutarmi in questo modo. Pensa se avessimo vinto la Liga... Che avrebbero fatto?".
"Incredible, wasn't it? It was a very bad night (they lost 1 x 3), we lost, the fans were fed up, but they even found the desire to acknowledge me in this fashion. Think if we would have we won the League... What would they have done?""Io qui sono stato solo 3 anni, e sono arrivato che ne avevo 32. Penso che la gente abbia apprezzato la mia professionalità, il mio carattere, la mia voglia di dare sempre tutto. Le cose a volte sono andate bene, altre no, ma i tifosi hanno capito che io ci provavo comunque. E stasera me lo hanno detto con questi applausi, con lo striscione ("Ciao Fabio grazie mile", ndr). con i cori, cantati persino in italiano. Impressionante".
"I've only been here for three years, and was 32 when I arrived. I think that the fans appreciated my professionalism, my character, my desire to always give everything. At times, things went well, other times, no, but the fans understood that I did my best anyway.Italian Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 25 May 2009.
And tonight they told me with their applause, with the banner (Farewell Fabio Thanks a Thousand in Italian,) and with their chants, sung nonetheless in Italian. Very impressive."
An excellent display of appreciation for a great champion: Fabio Cannavaro.
Speaking of legendary Merengues, please enjoy this historic video of Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas. This is the way the game was meant to be played. They won five straight European Cups with Real Madrid between 1956 and 1960.
Please note the deft ball control and creativity.Just think what they could do today with much lighter footwear and footballs?
Dan Leo sent me this video, and provided his thoughts about the Real Madrid teams of that era:
"They appear to have been a perfect compliment to each other... Di Stefano was all moves and passing and style and Puskas was like a bulldozer... Alfredo could move in any direction off any body posture, which made his moves completely unpredictable... Paco Gento provided the width..."