Cannavaro up for final challenge in Dubai

DUBAI - Former Italy World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro said he had not moved to Dubai for the money after signing a two-year deal with the city's Al Ahli F.C.

Former Leeds United and Aston Villa boss David O'Leary will join Cannavaro at the Rashid Stadium after being named manager of the 2009 United Arab Emirates champions.

"It wasn't an economic choice, it was a family choice," Cannavaro told reporters on Sunday.

"Here, there's not as much pressure as in the leagues I'm used to and I would like to help the younger players to gain from my experience and to help them win something important in their future."

Cannavaro, 36, said he regretted not being able to fulfil his ambition of finishing his career at home-town club Naples.

"I was born in Naples so it would have been a nice thing, but we and Naples didn't have the same ideas for the future, so I'm happy to have taken this new road for me and my family," said the 2006 World Player of the Year.

He would not be drawn on Italy's World Cup failure. The defending champions exited in the first round after finishing bottom of a group containing New Zealand and first-time qualifiers Slovakia.

"Italy wasn't the oldest team, there were four or five other teams that had older players than us," said the former Real Madrid defender who won the last of his 136 international caps in the 3-2 loss to Slovakia.

"The real problem was that we had a big change since 2006. I think that affected our performance."

He predicted that Germany or Spain would win the tournament.

"It has been a World Cup full of surprises," said Cannavaro. "Four good teams have reached the semi-finals and Germany and Spain are my favourites, but I have a lot of friends in both teams and so don't want to say which team will win."

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