Fabio Cannavaro walks trough the paddock before the Italian Grand...

Fabio Cannavaro walks trough the paddock before the Italian Grand Prix race at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, on Sept. 11, 2022. Fabio Cannavaro, the captain of the Italy squad that won the 2006 World Cup, was given his first Serie A coaching job with relegation-threatened Udinese on Monday, April 22, 2024.. Credit: AP/Luca Bruno

UDINE, Italy — Fabio Cannavaro, captain of the Italy squad that won the 2006 World Cup, was given his first Serie A coaching job on Monday at relegation-threatened Udinese.

Cannavaro becomes Udinese’s third coach this season. He replaces the fired Gabriele Cioffi, who had taken over from Andrea Sottil in October.

Cannavaro was given a contract for the final six matches of the season. His brother, Paolo, will be his number one assistant.

The move comes after a 1-0 loss at Hellas Verona on Saturday left Udinese one spot above the drop zone and level on points with 18th-place Frosinone.

Udinese has been in the top division uninterrupted since 1995.

While Cannavaro has coached several clubs in China and the Middle East, his only managerial experience in Italy came with Benevento in Serie B for part of last season.

A former center back, Cannavaro won the Ballon d’Or after helping Italy beat France in the 2006 World Cup final.

Cannavaro will take over for the first time when Udinese's game against Roma resumes on Thursday for the final 19 minutes.

The score was 1-1 on April 14 when Roma defender Evan Ndicka collapsed and the match was suspended. Ndicka was released from hospital a day later with a collapsed left lung.

It’s the 13th coaching change in Serie A this season.

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