By Rahul Bali
Fabio Cannavaro believes former club Real Madrid are favourites to win La Liga next season and has raised question marks over Barcelona's star-studded frontline of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
The forwards, who this week finished second, seventh and 30th respectively in the 2014 Goal 50, could form a frightening attacking triumvirate following the arrival of Suarez from Liverpool, but Cannavaro is not so sure.
"This is modern football we are talking about - who is going to cover them in midfield?" the former Italy captain pondered to Goal.
"Real Madrid have to be considered favourites to win La Liga."
Cannavaro, who won two Primera Division titles during three years in Madrid between 2006 and 2009, also commented on the crisis engulfing the Italy national team and Mario Balotelli following a disastrous World Cup in Brazil.
"Every nation has some good times and some bad times, and Italy is going through a negative period simply because its clubs have not invested in Italian players," the ex-Juventus and Parma star explained.
"Teams have preferred to do business with young foreigners. Among the four semi-finalists at the World Cup, there were 16 starters who play or have played in Italy when they were young.
"As for Balotelli, I don't want to judge him because I do not know him. He is from a very different generation to my own. His talent is not in doubt, but in all professions, talent is not always enough."
When asked for his opinion on Juventus' chances going into the new season, Cannavaro seemed to harbour some doubts.
"The new signings are excellent but they are not enough," he warned. "Pirlo is one year older and Antonio Conte has left."
Cannavaro, who named another Goal 50 star James Rodriguez as his best player of the World Cup, also commented on the eternal Messi versus Diego Maradona debate.
"Both are great players, but Maradona was a true captain," the Napoli youth product concluded.
Click HERE to see the full list for the 2014 Goal 50
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