Fabio Cannavaro, the former World Player of the Year, retired yesterday, five years to the day since captaining Italy to World Cup glory.
Cannavaro, 37, who stepped down from Italy duty after last year's World Cup group stage exit, ended his time with Dubai's Al Ahli club because of a recurring knee injury.
"It's a sad day since football has been very much part of my life for the last 20 years but then there is nothing I could do," the former Parma, Juventus, Internazionale and Real Madrid player said. "I have decided to stop playing after a medical examination in Italy last week. Doctors have told me that I can no longer play."
Cannavaro is the only defender to win the Fifa World Player award after his calm, authoritative captaining and defensive play led Italy to glory in 2006.
He will continue with Al Ahli as a technical advisor and brand ambassador as part of a three-year agreement.