Paolo Cannavaro delighted to finish playing career on a high

Ahead of moving to Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao as a coach under brother Fabio, Paolo Cannavaro enjoyed a "fantastic" final day as a player.

Sassuolo defender Paolo Cannavaro has hung up his boots and will now adorn a coaching role at Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao in China.   -  Getty Images

Paolo Cannavaro bid an emotional farewell as he brought down the curtain on his playing career in Sassuolo's 1-1 draw Roma on Saturday. The 36-year-old announced prior to this weekend's Serie A clash that it would be his last as a player as he prepares to join his brother Fabio in China.

Cannavaro will move to the Chinese Super League to take up a coaching role with Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, Fabio having returned to the club as Luiz Felipe Scolari's replacement in November.

His final match ended on a high as Simone Missiroli grabbed a point at Stadio Olimpico, the midfielder's 78th-minute strike cancelling out Lorenzo Pellegrini's first-half opener.

READ: Cannavaro to join brother Fabio at Guangzhou Evergrande

"I really enjoyed it," he told Sky. "I entered the field with the carefree attitude of someone who knows how to have given everything to football, it was a fantastic day for me, closed with an excellent performance.

"To see the tears of the fans, it means that you have done something important. I aim to grow and learn the job I want to do in the future.

"I have always dreamed of leaving football at the top, I thank Sassuolo who have given me the chance to do that."

Sassuolo coach Beppe Iachini led the tributes to Cannavaro, praising the defender's professionalism as he embarks on a new journey. "He's a great lad and a wonderful professional," he said. "I'm sorry he made this decision, but I am happy his final match coincided with a good team performance.

"I am sure that Sassuolo will keep him in their heart."