Friday March 20 2020
'All Neapolitans dream of a future at Napoli'

After a controversial exit from Napoli in 2014, former defender Paolo Cannavaro has claimed that a future at the San Paolo “is the dream of every Neapolitan”.

Cannavaro retired from football mid-season in January 2018 and jumped at the chance of joining his older brother at Guangzhou Evergrande, and despite the unpleasant exit from the Partenopei, the former Sassuolo hero pictures a future as a coach in Naples.

The 38-year-old thanked Sassuolo President Giorgio Squinzi for “granting him an opportunity midseason” as he decided to hang up his boots after a match against Roma in December 2017.

On January 1 his contract with the Neroverdi was terminated midway through his fourth season at the Mapei Stadium and Cannavaro headed to China, to follow in the footsteps of his older brother once more.

Growing up in a football crazy Naples, the two brothers were destined to become a part of the Partenopei history, and the youngest of the two played 278 times in the Azzurri shirt.

He recalls his most memorable moment in the Partenopei colours, an overhead kick against Juventus, and getting the chance to meet Gomorrah star Salvatore Esposito on Instagram and admitted that his dream is to “have a future at Napoli”.

“To have a future at Napoli is the dream of any Neapolitan, just like the goal against Juventus, the overhead kick,” he said.

The intentions of returning to Napoli are clear and the younger Cannavaro might one day hope to step out of his more famous brother’s shadow and become a head coach himself.

Despite not getting capped by Italy, he appeared for all the age groups from Under-15 to Under-21 and played for 20 years in the top division of Italian football.

After seven years at Parma and Hellas Verona between 1999 and 2006, the former academy player returned to Napoli.

The younger Cannavaro brother became a fan favourite at the San Paolo. He grew up in and around the stadium and his only dream was to play inside the great stadium.

He represented the great rise of Napoli, being a vital part of helping them to their first Champions League appearance, a competition where he went on to represent his city’s colours seven times before moving on.

Many felt that he had been treated unfairly when he signed for Sassuolo in 2014, but it seems like water under the bridge for Cannavaro himself.

After helping the Neroverdi in their quest to establish themselves as a Serie A side, appearing 120 times for the club before hanging up his boots, he moved on to pastures new and is again open for a third spell at Napoli.

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