By Kris Voakes
Speaking to Goal, the former Juve defender and Italy captain said that his ex-Real Madrid team-mate has exactly the qualities Antonio Conte’s side need in order to become a big player in Europe in the near future.
“Higuain is an extraordinary player. I played with him at Real Madrid, and he is a player that can make the difference at Juve. We hope that he will arrive there,” said Cannavaro.
“After being in Serie B, they have already done so much to reach the last eight of the Champions League. Now, they must strengthen again for next season if they want to do a little bit better.”
While Bianconeri boss Conte claimed after his side’s exit to eventual champions Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of this season’s competition that it will take years for Italian football to reach the level needed to compete in Europe, Cannavaro suggests that the game on the peninsula is still strong.
“It is not at a low level. Italian football cannot ever be at a low level. It is in a period of change, but Serie A remains a very difficult championship, one in which you must be a top player in order to be involved.”
Cannavaro holds the record for Italy caps with 136 and captained the Azzurri to World Cup victory in 2006, and he believes that the aim of the current national crop has to be to emulate his generation’s success when they travel to Brazil next year.
“[Italy will go to Brazil] to win. We are Italy. After Brazil, we have won more World Cups than anyone else. For us, the very idea of taking part is the desire to win,” he stated.
And the former Inter, Madrid and Parma man says June’s Confederations Cup is key to preparations ahead of next year’s showpiece event.
“It’s important for everyone. When you are up against nations like Brazil, Spain and Japan, you cannot go there to go through the motions. You must demonstrate your worth.”
The Confederations Cup begins in Brazil on June 15, with full coverage on Goal.