PAYING a quick visit to the Philippines for a charity football match is already a testament to how much he wants to help the relatively fledgling sport grow in the country.
But international football legend Fabio Cannavaro is willing to offer support in a much bigger way.
Regarded as one of the best footballers of his generation, Cannavaro is in town with fellow icon Dennis Wise for the Clear Dream Match but is not closing his door on coaching the Philippine squad someday.
Currently an assistant coach for Al-Ahli, a club team in Dubai, Cannavaro is a former Fifa World Player of the Year who skippered Italy to the 2006 World Cup title.
“I want to be the first manager (in the future),” Cannavaro told Spin.ph in short interview on Thursday. “If they give me a nice proposal, why not?
“I have an open mind,” added the Italian great, who turns 40 on September 13. “For me, football is the same everywhere. If I can give my experience to the players, I can come.”
Cannavaro, a center-back, would certainly boost Philippine football as he could convince aspirants who would rather play the supposed glamorous spot at forward or midfield, to embrace the role of defender.
The Azkals currently have few homegrown options at the backline.
The Azkals' coach, German Michael Weiss, is currently on a short-term contract, but the first roadblock to hiring a high-profile name like Cannavaro would be the potentially huge wages involved.
"The question is, can we afford him?" Phil Younghusband joked when asked about the prospect.
Cannavaro is teaming up with James Younghusband as they go up against a team to be Phil and Wise in the Clear charity match on Saturday night at the University of Makati pitch.