World Cup champion Italy’s captain Fabio Cannavaro signed a two-year agreement to join Dubai-based soccer club Al Ahli.
The signing “is one of the major deals for us because of the player’s advantage of experience and talent,” Abdullah Al Naboodah, the United Arab Emirates-based Al Ahli Co. chairman, said in a statement on the club’s website today.
Cannavaro’s contract with Juventus wasn’t renewed. The defender, 36, returned last season to the Turin club, where he played from 2004-06, after three years with Real Madrid.
Contract talks with Al Ahli took about three weeks and Cannavaro “is very happy about his new adventure,” said Andrea D’Amico, who said he represented the club in the negotiations. Al Ahli was U.A.E. league champion in 2009.
Cannavaro will join Al Ahli a few weeks after leading Italy in defense of its World Cup title in South Africa. Neither the club nor D’Amico disclosed the terms of the contract.
In 2006, after leading his nation to its fourth success in the global tournament, Cannavaro was voted soccer governing body FIFA’s world player of the year, the only defender to win the accolade. He’s made more than 130 appearances for Italy.