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By ESPN Staff

Cannavaro unfazed by reaction to Juve return

Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro is unconcerned about the reaction of Juventus fans if his move back to the Serie A club goes through.

The Real Madrid defender, whose contract at the Bernabeu runs out at the end of the season, is in talks about returning to Juve despite angering fans by leaving in 2006 when the team were demoted in a match-fixing scandal.

"Everyone knows I would return to Juve with joy in my heart because I had two beautiful seasons in Turin," said the 35-year-old.

"People expected me to stay (in 2006) but I've already explained a thousand times what happened. I am not worried, I will definitely talk with the fans," Cannavaro told Tuesday's edition of the Turin daily Tuttosport.

He had wanted to end his career at hometown club Napoli but president Aurelio De Laurentiis said the 2006 world player of the year was too old for a centre back.

Juve coach Claudio Ranieri, preparing for Wednesday's Italian Cup semi-final second leg at home to Lazio, denied media reports he was lukewarm about the move.

"We asked ourselves about Cannavaro's age but we couldn't miss the opportunity to sign an international who could re-form Italy's central defensive partnership with (Giorgio) Chiellini and could come for free," he told a news conference.

"For this reason I gave the OK when I was asked."

Juve were ordered to play their next home league game behind closed doors on Monday after fans racially abused Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli in Saturday's 1-1 Serie A draw.

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