The 38-year-old spent the last season of his career at Al Ahli in Dubai after Napoli opted against signing him when he left Juventus after the 2010 World Cup.
And that is something that sits uncomfortably with Cannavaro, who began his career with the sky blues.
"The biggest regret I have is not being for Napoli what (Paolo) Maldini and (Francesco) Totti were for AC Milan and Roma respectively," Cannavaro told Radio Deejay.
"I hoped and dreamed of becoming a talisman for this team, my Napoli."
Cannavaro spent the first three seasons of his career at his home town club but was then sold to Parma to ease Napoli's financial struggles.
He went on to play for Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid before returning to Juve in 2009.
In 2006 he captained Italy to World Cup glory in Germany and finished the year as World Player of the Year.
But following the next World Cup, Napoli didn't want him even though he publically expressed his desire to join the club.
"Even though I went on to play for other clubs, I would have liked to go back," added Cannavaro.
"Most of all I wanted to become a point of reference for the team from my city.
"Naples is my life, it's my city. That's where my career started and Naples is everything to me. Yes, I have regrets."
Instead of going back to Napoli, Cannavaro ended his career in the relative backwater of the United Arab Emirates League.
Although he signed for two years, he was forced to retire in July after just one season due to a chronic knee injury.