The former Manchester City striker has been consistently subjected to odious chanting from opposition fans since returning to Serie A in January, and the World Cup winning defender believes that the attention is linked to a fear-factor that the 23-year-old has.
"His chants are caused by fear, and perhaps respect," Cannavaro told Gazzetta dello Sport
"Balotelli has an attitude that they do not like, because he is strong and opponents are scared of him. That is why they goad him."
Roma were issued with a fine earlier in the year after a number of their supporters directed racist songs at the Italy hitman, while Inter Milan - with whom Balotelli spent three years - were also punished for their fans' treatment of their former player in the Milan derby.