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 have been left to fend for themselves.
His soccer expertise was evident from an early age, betting in opposition to older youngsters that he may beat them on the lovely sport so he may put meals on the desk at residence.
Rising by means of the ranks at Bari, his large 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 an expert footballer. On the peak of his powers Cassano was probably the most extremely regarded gamers in Europe, nevertheless it was off-the-field antics which introduced in regards to the largest headlines.
His 2010 autobiography Dico Tutto (I’ll Inform You Every part) provides you a deep perception into the maverick character he’s, with one notably crass anecdote from his time in Madrid, the place he lived in a resort, completely summing up his playboy way of life.
“I made pals with one of many waiters,” Cassano wrote in his autobiography. “His job was to carry me three or 4 croissants after I had intercourse.”
“He would carry the crossaints to the steps, I’d carry the lady and we’d make a commerce: he took the lady; I stuffed myself with crossaints. Intercourse plus meals — the right 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 awesome match after having intercourse’.
A brush with loss of life whereas enjoying for AC Milan in October 2011 – struggling an ischemic stroke – appeared to refocus Cassano for a short lived interval.
Following a profitable coronary heart operation, a positive 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 have 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 last seven seasons as an expert.
In July 2017, a collection 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.
Nonetheless, 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 12 months, 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 lately, as a result of I actually did throw myself away,” Cassano admitted.
“It’s one factor to alter, one other to not need to practice, insult everybody and begin arguments from morning until night time.
“The ‘wild genius who breaks the foundations’ factor solely goes to date, and I actually did cross the road too many instances.”
Cassano’s unstable relationship with Fabio Capello – who he dubbed ‘faker than Monopoly cash’ – at each Roma and Actual Madrid is one thing the latter additionally appears again on as ‘the most important remorse’ of his managerial profession.
“Cassano is my largest remorse as a result of I couldn’t make him into the nice participant that he may have been,” Capello informed the identical publication.
“I labored very exhausting, 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 may have achieved on the sector.
One factor that’s for sure is that Antonio Cassano won’t ever ever be forgotten.