Cannavaro is considered one of the greatest defenders of his generation, and of all time, winning the World Cup as Italy’s captain, as well as the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 2006. Although he predominantly excelled as a centreback, due to his ability to read the game, he was also deployed as a right or left sided fullback on occasion, in particular under his Inter coach Héctor Cúper. This was made possible due to Cannavaro’s tactical intelligence, versatility, technical ability, ball playing ability, stamina, low centre of gravity, and pace, which also enabled him to start plays from the backline after winning back possession. As a defender, Cannavaro was known in particular for his concentration, anticipation, awareness, and positional sense; despite his relatively small stature for a defender, he was highly regarded for his aerial ability, courtesy of his elevation, physical strength, athleticism, timing, and heading accuracy, which enabled him to outjump larger players, and made him particularly adept at defending crosses, or at scoring with his head from set-pieces. Throughout his career, he made a name for himself as a dynamic, consistent, tenacious, and complete defender, known for his acceleration, speed, reactions, and agility, as well as his tackling ability, and in particular, his precise sliding challenges; due to his wide range of skills, he excelled in a zonal marking system, but was also an excellent man marker. Nicknamed “Canna” (“reed”), by his former Italy defensive teammate Paolo Maldini, as a reference to his surname and mental strength, in addition to his ability as a defender, Cannavaro was also known for his leadership, determination, strong temperament and charisma, both on and off the pitch, as well as his ability to organise his defence. Cannavaro also attributes his positive character, calm composure under pressure, and self-assurance in his abilities, as well as his diet, work-rate and discipline in training, as some of the key reasons for his success as a footballer, as well as his ability to inspire confidence in his teammates.In Italy’s final 2009 Confederations Cup group match against Brazil, Cannavaro equalled Paolo Maldini’s record of being Italy’s most capped player, although Italy were defeated 3–0 and were disappointingly eliminated from the tournament in the group stage. On 12 August 2009, in a friendly match against Switzerland, Cannavaro became Italy’s most capped player of all time. He won his 127th cap for his country, beating Maldini’s former record of 126.