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Guangzhou Evergrande

Paolo Cannavaro to join brother Fabio at Guangzhou Evergrande

06:59 GMT+3 29/12/2017
Paolo Cannavaro Sassuolo
The Sassuolo defender will retire on Saturday before joining seven-time reigning CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao as a coach

Paolo Cannavaro will link up with brother and Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao head coach Fabio in China after the Sassuolo defender announced his retirement.

Cannavaro will farewell Sassuolo when the Serie A side face Roma on Saturday before joining the seven-time reigning Chinese Super League champions.

The 36-year-old is set to assist former Italy international and World Cup-winning defender Fabio, who is back as Evergrande boss after replacing Luiz Felipe Scolari in November.

"I wanted to leave a mark on and off the pitch," Paolo Cannavaro told reporters. "My ambition was too strong, and for this, I thank president [Giorgio] Squinzi and [Giovanni] Carnevali. They’re giving me an opportunity that isn't easy to grant midseason.

"There are human values and fantastic alchemy here, which you don't get at other clubs. I'm leaving home.

"I'll assist Fabio 360 degrees as a technical collaborator. I can coach those who play less during the season.

"It'll be a full-on experience for me, a huge leap. Saturday? It'll be a strange feeling. I won't miss the field because it's a decision I've made, but I will miss being around my team-mates."

As for a move to Asia, the Italian isn't overly familiar with what will be his new home. 

"The city will be new. I've been there twice but only for summer tours. Only lately have I been preparing myself for it because I was too focused on doing well here until the last day. It'll be a new year and a new life.

"Knowing that I'm quitting football but still doing something that keeps me busy is a privilege. Chinese will be difficult to learn, so we'll settle for English."

As for joining up with his brother, the 36-year-old is looking forward to rebuilding their relationship. 

"Relationship with Fabio? I haven't had much of a life with him. Getting back together didn't happen for several years.

"I wanted us to do so in the future as opportunities always presented themselves. I can't wait to start."