Ballon d’Or winner Fabio Cannavaro knows it is time to ‘come back home’ as the new Benevento coach and wants to bring a combination of international and old-school Italian ideas.
The 2006 World Cup winner just turned 49 and is taking his first European management role after working at Guangzhou Evergrande, Al-Nassr, Tianjin Quanjian and as caretaker manager for the China national team.
He has not been in a specific job since April 2019 and had several interviews for roles, including Newcastle United, before taking on Benevento in Serie B.
This is a return home for the Neapolitan former defender, as Benevento are also in the Campania region, and brother Paolo will be on his staff.
“Some might think this is my first experience, but I have been all over the world,” said Cannavaro.
“I realised now is the time to come home. I accepted this challenge knowing it would not be easy, as Serie B has some really big clubs this season. We know what we want and I hope that people get to appreciate me more as a coach than a former player.
“I also spoke to Pippo Inzaghi, who was very positive about his experience at Benevento. It’s important we get everyone back to full fitness and on the field run a few more risks, be more positive. The players have low morale and I need to work on that.
“I’ve learned travelling around that the build-up to games has changed, for example, music in the locker room. Football is experienced with more joy abroad, so it’s up to us to get that joy into our sport too.”
Cannavaro took that debate to the international stage too, where Italy won the European Championship, yet failed to qualify for the last two World Cups.
“We tried to follow too many fashions, as first we wanted to be Spanish, then English. I hope we get back to focusing on our own concepts of football, because not being at the World Cup is tragic. Italy won four World Cup trophies and we could do with reminding people of that a bit more.”