Remembering Fabio Cannavaro's incredible performance v Germany at the 2006 World Cup

Fabio Cannavaro - what a player!

It's incredibly rare for a defender to win the Ballon d'Or.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk came mighty close in 2019, but had to make to with second place as Lionel Messi scooped his sixth award.

However, back in 2006, Fabio Cannavaro went one better than Van Dijk and won the Ballon d'Or after captaining Italy to World Cup glory the same year.

Cannavaro was astonishingly good throughout the tournament, particularly during the Azzurri's 2-0 semi-final win over host nation Germany at Signal Iduna Park.

The 47-year-old - who is currently the manager of Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande - did not put a foot wrong throughout the course of the game.

Cannavaro in action

It's quite simply the greatest defensive performance of all time, 120 minutes of pragmatic perfection that's still yet to be equalled, let alone topped.

Cannavaro's highlights from the match, which is widely recognised as one of the greatest games in the sport's history, are simply incredible.

So sit back, relax and enjoy!

Cannavaro vs Germany

What. A. Performance.

Cannavaro's positioning throughout the game was perfect, as he was always in the right place at the right time to either block a dangerous shot or produce a well-timed tackle.

The former Juventus and Real Madrid man was also dominant in the air, which is an even more impressive feat when you factor in that he stands at only 5'9".

Even Miroslav Klose, a player far taller and famed for his heading ability, could not win the majority of his aerial battles against Cannavaro.

Cannavaro wins the ball in the air

The Italian legend even played a crucial part in his country's second goal deep into extra-time that sealed victory and silenced the German home crowd.

Cannavaro's decisive interception on the edge of his own box kickstarted the Azzurri's final attacking move of the game, which was expertly finished off by Alessandro Del Piero.

A truly iconic display from one of the greatest defenders the beautiful game has ever seen.

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