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VIENNA, June 2 (Reuters) - Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro has been ruled out of Euro 2008 after suffering ankle ligament damage on Monday, the Italian soccer federation said.
The 34-year-old defender collided with Giorgio Chiellini in Italy’s first training session in Austria and his departure was confirmed after having tests in hospital.
Alessandro Gamberini has been called up as a replacement and will arrive at their base near Vienna on Tuesday.
“Fabio Cannavaro must say goodbye to the European championship,” a statement on the Federation web site (www.figc.it) said.
Cannavaro, who lifted the World Cup two years ago, will hold a news conference on Tuesday alongside coach Roberto Donadoni, the statement added.
Capped 116 times, Cannavaro has been a key figure in Italy’s defence and was voted FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 2006.
However, he has become slower and more error-prone since moving to Real Madrid from Juventus following the World Cup triumph.
His place in the national side has never been in doubt but the emergence of centre back Andrea Barzagli, who has produced some assured displays for Italy in the last year, will slightly cushion the blow for Donadoni.
Defender Marco Materazzi is also in the squad while Chiellini and Christian Panucci can play at centre back rather than full back.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon may be the most likely candidate to take over as captain with midfielders Gennaro Gattuso and Massimo Ambrosini other options.
The world champions flew into Austria earlier on Monday.
Italy face the Netherlands in their first Group C match in Berne on June 9 before playing Romania and France.
Editing by Trevor Huggins
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