Thursday, 12 October 2006

Will Cannavaro fit in?

Cannavaro in his first league match for Real MadridItaly captain, World Cup champion, Fabio Cannavaro was one of the stellar signings of the summer. He was seen as a key component of the new Real Madrid under the other Fabio, Capello. Where Real Madrid previously let in goals (Casillas' heroics notwithstanding) like a leaky bucket, under Capello they would be impregnable. But, like Emerson, Real's other defensive-minded signing from Juventus, Cannavaro is yet to impress.

El País publishes some telling statistics: In his last season at Juventus, Cannavaro made a foul every 42 minutes; at Real so far this season, every 95. His team-mate in the centre of defence, Sergio Ramos, makes a foul every 29 minutes. Last season, Cannavaro cleared crosses into the area every 32 minutes, now he does it every 52. The article claims this is clear evidence of his diminished efficiency, although it fails to point out that, with Valencia, Real Madrid has the most economical defence in the league, having conceded just two goals in five games. Maybe numbers aren't everything.

The player himself claims he needs time to adapt to the style of play of 'La Liga', while the club says he's paying the price for Italy's extended (and successful) World Cup campaign and joining the team late in the preseason, as well as the fact that, at Real Madrid, the fullbacks don't defend, putting more pressure on the central defenders. While both Roberto Carlos and Salgado (when he's not injured) have attacking duties, it seems a little disingenuous to say that they don't defend, particularly under Capello.

Cesare Maldini, with whom Cannavaro made his international debut at both under-21 and full levels, asks for patience: "I've seen all of Real's games and I think that Fabio's problems are due to the team as a whole. A lot of players are new in their positions, and he still needs time to learn to play with them effectively. He may also be suffering a little from the long World Cup. It's normal that players who have gone so far in such an important tournament have some physical consequences of having played so many matches, the associated stress, the shortened holidays, and missing most of the preseason. It's inevitable that this will have an effect on his performance at the beginning of the season, but I'm convinced Fabio still has a couple of years at the very highest level".

1 comment:

roswitha said...

What a marvellous assessment. I'll keep returning! Thank you. :)