Zidane's decision has come as no surprise to Ancelotti. The Italian coach has always been fully aware of the Frenchman's eagerness to coach, just as he is with his other assistant, Clement, who has also received offers to go it alone. However, with Zizou on the move, it is unlikely that his other right hand man will also follow suit.
Carlo has, therefore, already been laying the groundwork in case he needed to find a replacement for one of his second in commands. Although he did not have to dig too deep as Cannavaro has been in the frame since last season. The former Real Madrid player meets all requirements Ancelotti is looking for and is the ideal man to step into Zizou's shoes.
Cannavaro may well be set for a return to Real Madrid, where he previously spent three seasons. For Ancelotti he has the perfect profile. He is a former player, he knows the club, he has experience and commands great respect from the Madrid faithful and also the players. He came to Madrid as a Ballon d'Or winner, following a victorious 2006 World Cup campaign and went on to make ??his mark, with two 'La Ligas' and a Spanish Super Cup.
Ancelotti and Cannavaro have maintained a great relationship since their stint together at Parma; Carlo as coach and Fabio as a player. They worked together for two seasons (96-97 and 97-98) during which time the current 'Los Blancos' manager set great store by the defender's personality and leadership ability. He saw him as a player who could act as an extension of the coach on the field, assimilating exactly the way he wanted things to be at any time and passing that on to the team. That established a great partnership between them.