He may be a World Cup winning captain with 136 international caps, league title victories in two countries and a Ballon d’Or to his name, but even Fabio Cannavaro feared playing against somebody.
The former Juventus, Parma and Real Madrid man is widely regarded as one of the finest defenders of all time, but one striker struck fear into him whenever the two squared off against each other in Serie A.
And let’s face it, if you’re going to be scared of anyone, it should be this bloke.
Ronaldo, he of Brazil, not Portugal, was the man responsible for giving the former Italy captain sleepless nights.
The two briefly shared the same changing room during a spell together at Real Madrid, but when ‘El Fenomeno’ was in the employ of Internazionale in the late ’90s and early noughties, Cannavaro did not enjoy lining up opposite the two time Ballon d’Or winner.
In an interview with the official Champions League website, Cannavaro revealed, “Ronaldo was always, always, the one player who stirred fear in me.
“He is the player of our generation. The phenomenon.”
Oddly enough, both men share more than just Ballon d’Or and World Cup victories as well as a spot in the same Bernabeu changing room. They both won the Silver Cup during victorious World Cups, with Ronaldo being pipped to the main prize by Oliver Kahn, the man he scored past twice during the final, in 2002 while Cannavaro was beaten to the golden ball by Zinedine Zidane, who infamously headbutted his country’s chances of lifting a second World Cup down the drain, in 2006.
Since retiring in 2011, the 43-year-old has gone onto manage several teams across Asia, including Al-Ahli, Al Nassr, Guangzhou Evergrande and his current club, Tianjin Quanjian, whom he really guided to promotion to the Chinese Super League.