#TBT Sports Blog: Italy’s FIFA Star The Berlin Wall

FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Fabio Cannavaro

Today’s #TBT sports blog will bring beaming smiles to the faces of Italian soccer fans.

Let’s throw back time nine plus years and remember a rock solid defender who thwarted all opposing strikers with sites on goal.

Nicknamed the Berlin Wall, Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro made certain that nothing got past his defensive position on the soccer pitch.

His brilliant defensive play during the 2006 World Cup in Germany demonstrated to FIFA fans everywhere why adoring Italians named this fortress-like footballer the Berlin Wall.

Like the hundred mile long cement wall that once divided Germany from 1961 to 1989, nothing got past Cannavaro. From his center back position, he denied access to everything from his defensive position in front of the Italian goal.

Fabio Cannavaro: 2006 Ballon d’Or Trophy Winner

Because of Cannavaro’s dominant defense, Italy emerged as the 2006 World Cup champion. Along with teammate Gianluigi Buffon, Cannavaro played all 690 minutes in the World Cup tournament.

Incredibly, this Berlin Wall never chipped or faltered. In spite of defending many of the world’s greatest strikers, he completed the competition without receiving either a yellow or a red card.

FIFA recognized Cannavaro’s excellence on the field by awarding him the 2006 Ballon d’Or as the Top Football Player in the World. He became the oldest player to receive soccer’s highest individual honor. Also, Italy’s captain remains the only defensive player ever acknowledged by soccer’s governing body for the award.

Knee injuries eventually slowed this speedy, hard tackling defender. Cannavaro retired in 2011 after a combined 15 seasons of professional soccer in the Italian Serie A, Spain’s La Liga and in Dubai.

As the all-time leader in caps for the Italian National Team with 136 to his credit, Cannavaro represented his country in four World Cups in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

That’s why he anchors FIFA Favorites in the #10 spot.

MIKE FIFA FavoritesThe twelve foot tall concrete wall that divided Germany for 28 years may have dwarfed the surprisingly short 5’9” Cannavaro.

However, when sizing up Fabio Cannavaro’s impact on the soccer pitch, no one will argue that he played brilliantly.

Just like the Berlin Wall for which he was named.

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