Paolo Cannavoro Appears Ready To Leave

Claudio Villa

In the least shocking news ever, it appears that Napoli's captain and former defensive stalwart is ready to leave Naples next month.

As partenopei fans everywhere put together their wishlists for reinforcements in January, there's also a handful of names that could well be on their way out of the Napoli dressing room. The headliner is captain Paolo Cannavaro, the stalwart central defender who has been rarely used by Rafa Benitez this season.

Cannavaro's agent, Enrico Fedele, has been quite vocal about his displeasure over his client's situation, making a number of statements to newspapers and radio audiences alike over the course of the season. Most recently, he told Radio Marte that Cannavaro "does not play because Benitez does not see him and the Coach does not believe he is suitable to his way of playing." Taken from a neutral standpoint, this actually seems like a fair assessment; it's been painfully obvious over the last two years or so that Cannavaro's legs are going fast, and Benitez traditionally likes a bit more mobility from his men in the middle.

Fedele also dredged up one of the odder Napoli rumors of the summer, claiming that a deal to have the defender re-join Walter Mazzarri and Hugo Campagnaro at Inter was scuttled at the last minute by Napoli when they claimed that Cannavaro was untouchable. This seems odd given the lack of usage that he's seen, with Miguel Britos and Federico Fernandez preferred to partner newcomer Raul Albiol. It's certainly feasible that Benitez hoped to use Cannavaro more than the two starts and two substitute appearances that he's gotten, but that form and training performances have dictated otherwise.

At this point, a move away from Naples for Cannavaro seems like the best situation for everyone. Despite his decline, Paolo deserves to be playing regularly somewhere, and there's plenty of teams in Serie A that would be able to give him that. Plus getting a potentially unhappy player (or at least his unhappy agent) out of the dressing room can only remove a potential distraction down a very crucial stretch for the club.

Either way, this only heightens Napoli's need for defensive reinforcements next month. Please, De Laurentiis, open your checkbook wide.

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