Cannavaro ruled out of Euro 2008

Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro was ruled out of the upcoming Euro 2008 championships on Monday after suffering a left ankle injury, according to the Ansa press agency.

The replacement for the 34-year-old Real Madrid defender — capped 116 times — will be announced soon, the Italian Football Federation informed Ansa.

Cannavaro suffered the injury during a training session at their Austrian base, just hours after Italy arrived in the country.

He underwent scans at a hospital in Modling, 15km south of Vienna, after colliding with Giorgio Chiellini during the practice match, and was subsequently transferred to another hospital in Vienna.

Cannavaro underwent an MRI scan, after which the doctor, Franz Maria Kainberger, who was interviewed by Ansa, said the centre-back had suffered a double sprain of his ankle and that an operation might be needed.

The centre-back left the hospital during the evening and went back to Italy’s hotel in Baden to rejoin his team-mates.

Cannavaro, who led Italy to the World Cup title in 2006, had been prone on the ground for about 20 minutes and carried off on a stretcher.

He is likely to be replaced in the squad by either AC Milan’s Daniele Bonera, who has 13 caps, or Fiorentina’s Alessandro Gamberini, who has two caps.

Cannavaro’s absence is a serious blow to Italy, who are in the ”Group of Death” with 2006 World Cup finalists France, Holland and dark horses Romania.

In 2006, when he captained Italy to World Cup glory in Germany, he was the star of their team and later that year won the World Player of the Year award.

Cannavaro, who is from Naples, started his career at Napoli before moving on to Parma, where he made his name as one of his country’s finest centre-backs despite his small stature – he is just 5 feet 9,5 inches tall. — Sapa-AFP

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