Italy legend Fabio Cannavaro says he is working towards managing in Europe, as he continues to enjoy success in China.
The 46-year-old former Ballon d’Or winner recently won the Chinese Super League with Guangzhou Evergrande, following spells with Tianjin Quanjian and the Chinese national team.
Taking his club forward is a challenge Cannavaro relishes, but eventually he has his eye on a post in his home country.
“Coaching in Italy? I’m working towards that,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“I’m doing my apprenticeship. I won the second division in China, I brought a team to promotion and then to the Champions League.
“Now I can fight to win something. It’s a fantastic experience. The Chinese game is a different kind of football, where there isn’t as much intensity or technique as in Europe, but in the Champions League you play against strong teams.
“My goal is to try to get back to Europe and compare myself with the top managers, but to do this I have to be ready, to have the experience.”
Following a Chinese League One title with Tianjin in 2016 and an FA Super Cup with Guangzhou last year, lifting the league title in 2019 represented Cannavaro’s biggest coaching achievement to date.
“It has been a season of change,” he added.
“The club had focused on lots of young players; the goal was to reach the top six and instead we won the league.
“Now is the hardest part, because when you win you have to do it again.”
One of Cannavaro’s team-mates from Italy’s victorious 2006 World Cup squad, Gennaro Gattuso, has recently taken on a new role.
The combative former midfielder has replaced Carlo Ancelotti as manager of Napoli, with his predecessor set to take the reins at Everton.
“He has a lot of desire and determination,” Cannavaro said of Gattuso.
“He is a guy who likes to work and has clear ideas. I hope he can do well in Naples.”
Naples-born Cannavaro began his career with Napoli before moving on to Parma, the club he played for the most times during a successful career.
He also represented Inter, Juventus, Real Madrid and Al-Ahli, as well as winning 136 caps for Italy.