Antonio Cassano definitely loved life within the quick lane. However his path to the highest was removed from straight ahead.
Rising up and not using a father within the working class poverty-stricken San Nicola district of Bari Vecchia, Cassano and his mum had been left to fend for themselves.
His soccer expertise was evident from an early age, betting towards older youngsters that he might beat them on the stunning sport so he might put meals on the desk at house.
Rising by way of the ranks at Bari, his massive break got here at 19 when he made a profitable transfer to then Italian champions Roma.
5 years later he joined LaLiga giants Actual Madrid – a spell which typified Cassano’s flamboyant nature.
This was a participant who knew he needed to savour each second of being knowledgeable footballer. On the peak of his powers Cassano was probably the most extremely regarded gamers in Europe, but it surely was off-the-field antics which introduced in regards to the largest headlines.
His 2010 autobiography Dico Tutto (I’ll Inform You The whole lot) offers you a deep perception into the maverick character he’s, with one significantly crass anecdote from his time in Madrid, the place he lived in a resort, completely summing up his playboy life-style.
“I made associates with one of many waiters,” Cassano wrote in his autobiography. “His job was to convey me three or 4 croissants after I had intercourse.”
“He would convey the crossaints to the steps, I might convey the lady and we might make a commerce: he took the lady; I stuffed myself with crossaints. Intercourse plus meals — the proper night time!”
The countless events, poor consuming habits – which noticed him earn the nickname ‘El Gordito’ – and lack of self-discipline noticed his spell on the Bernabeu descend into chaos.
Cassano later claimed he’d slept with someplace between 600 and 700 ladies – together with round 20 celebrities – by the point he was 25. He was additionally quoted as saying he ‘performed an excellent match after having intercourse’.
A brush with loss of life whereas taking part in for AC Milan in October 2011 – struggling an ischemic stroke – appeared to refocus Cassano for a brief interval.
Following a profitable coronary heart operation, a nice run of type earned the Italian a spot in Cesare Prandelli’s Euro 2012 squad.
He performed in all six of Italy’s video games en path to the ultimate, earlier than they had been thumped 4-Zero by Spain.
However as soon as extra it was off-field controversy which marred Cassano’s match, with the ahead fined greater than £11,500 by UEFA after feedback he made about homosexuals.
Cassano was requested throughout a press convention whether or not he thought there have been any homosexuals in Prandelli’s 23-man squad and responded: “The coach warned me that you’d ask me this query. If I say what I believe… I hope there are none.”
A altering room brawl adopted at his subsequent membership with then Inter coach, Andrea Stramaccioni, after a heated dialogue boiled over. Cassano would go on to have spells at each Parma and Sampdoria.
Remarkably, he solely managed to hit double figures in a single marketing campaign as soon as throughout his ultimate seven seasons as knowledgeable.
In July 2017, a sequence of weird retirement bulletins lastly noticed his vibrant profession come to an abrupt finish.
Upon signing for Hellas Verona he performed two friendlies for the membership, earlier than out of the blue saying he was hanging up his boots.
Nevertheless, he reversed that call a day later earlier than once more confirming as soon as extra than he wouldn’t play once more.
In an interview with Sky Italia earlier this yr, Cassano opened up on his regrets from a chaotic time working in soccer.
“I’m the best expertise to have thrown all the things away in recent times, as a result of I actually did throw myself away,” Cassano admitted.
“It’s one factor to alter, one other to not wish to prepare, insult everybody and begin arguments from morning until night time.
“The ‘wild genius who breaks the principles’ factor solely goes to date, and I actually did cross the road too many occasions.”
Cassano’s risky relationship with Fabio Capello – who he dubbed ‘faker than Monopoly cash’ – at each Roma and Actual Madrid is one thing the latter additionally seems to be again on as ‘the largest remorse’ of his managerial profession.
“Cassano is my largest remorse as a result of I couldn’t make him into the good participant that he might have been,” Capello informed the identical publication.
“I labored very laborious, however I didn’t handle it.”
Cassano’s story was a real rags to riches tales. Had he pushed himself to his absolute restrict, who is aware of what he might have achieved on the sector.
One factor that’s for sure is that Antonio Cassano won’t ever ever be forgotten.