Cannavaro eyes Real finale

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The Independent Football

Veteran Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro has pledged to remain with Real Madrid for one more season, having been linked with a return to his hometown club, Napoli.

The 35-year-old has always insisted that he wants to end his career back in Naples, but says that he is committed to trying to help Real win the Champions League before he exits the Bernabeu.

He told AS: “I want to renew my contract with Real Madrid. I'm very settled and I expect to talk to the club to resolve everything before the end of the year.

“I don't want to leave because I am happy here and my family is enjoying life in Madrid.

“I want to win the Champions League with this team and only then could I leave calmly.”

Cannavaro moved to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2006 after leading the Azzurri to World Cup glory in Germany. He had previously enjoyed spells with Napoli, Parma, Internazionale and Juventus.

Over at Barcelona, club president Joan Laporta has revealed that new head coach Pep Guardiola dared him to put him in charge at the Camp Nou.

Guardiola took over the top job last summer following the exit of Dutchman Frank Rijkaard, having earlier goaded Laporta into promoting him from the Catalan giants' B team.

Laporta told Marca: “He said that I would not have the courage to make him head coach one day and I told him that I would. If we did not win anything with Rijkaard then I would.

“Then he repeated that I would not be brave and I asked why I should and he told me that he would go for the league.

“Johan Cruyff told me in December 2007 that Guardiola was ready to coach the first team.

“When I told Rijkaard that if he did not win anything then Guardiola would replace him, he wanted him to join his coaching staff, but Pep was very focussed on Barca B.”