OSAKA, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 21: Head coach Fabio Cannavaro of Guangzhou Evergrande looks on prior to the AFC Champions League Group G match between Cerezo Osaka and Gunazhou Evergrande at the Yanmar Stadium Nagai on February 21, 2018 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Napoli’s only hope of ending Juventus’ dominance in the Serie A is by signing Lionel Messi, says former defender Fabio Cannavaro

Carlo Ancelotti’s side already find themselves nine points adrift of unbeaten leaders Juventus at the half-way stage of this season.

The Bianconeri have enjoyed a record-breaking start with new star arrival Cristiano Ronaldo leading the charge for an eighth consecutive crown.

Cannavaro, who started out his playing career at Napoli, warned his hometown club that Juventus appear to be “invincible” right now and that their only realistic hope of beating them lies with Messi.

“It really did seem as if Napoli or Inter could halt the Juventus domination, but the Bianconeri seem intent on marching on regardless,” Cannavaro told Il Mattino.

“Juve deserve credit for understanding what to do in certain moments. They signed Cristiano Ronaldo when needing to give confidence and renewed enthusiasm to the squad, stepping up a level in Europe and maintaining the invincible aura in Italy.

“The only way Napoli will take the Scudetto off Juventus is by signing Lionel Messi. Either that, or Juve gift it to them.”

The 45-year-old, who also used to play for Juventus, hopes to see the Old Lady win the Champions League with Napoli claiming the Europa League title.

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“I would love it for Juventus to win the Champions League this season and Napoli the Europa League, as it’d be a wonderful double for Italian football,” added Cannavaro.

“I was in the Parma squad that represented the last Italian club to win the old UEFA Cup and I don’t understand why our teams are now struggling in Europe, as we used to dominate these competitions.

“I think Napoli have everything it takes to bring the trophy home.”

Cannavaro made 421 appearances in the Serie A with the majority of them coming at Parma along with a two-year spell at Inter Milan.

He also played for Real Madrid for three years and won La Liga twice before spending a year at Juventus and finally retiring in 2011 at Dubai side Al-Ahli.

The ex-defender’s most famous moment in football came when he captained Italy to the 2006 World Cup and later won the Ballon d’Or that year.

Cannavaro now coaches Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.

BERLIN – JULY 09: The Italian players celebrate as Fabio Cannavaro of Italy lifts the World Cup trophy aloft following victory in a penalty shootout at the end of the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Final match between Italy and France at the Olympic Stadium on July 9, 2006 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)