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18 July 2017

Antonio Cassano officially retires from football a week after joining Verona — only reveres decision just hours later

MUCH like his entire career, Antonio Cassano has enjoyed a bonkers day.

First, he announces his retirement from football — just eight days after being given his “final chance” by newly-promoted Verona.

Antonio Cassano officially retired before changing his mind just hours later
Antonio Cassano officially retired before changing his mind just hours later
EPA
Antonio Cassano was world's most-expensive teenager when he joined Roma
Antonio Cassano was world’s most-expensive teenager when he joined Roma
News Group Newspapers Ltd

And then, the former Italy international goes back on his decision after being talked out by staff at his new club.

Speaking what, as things stand, is his final decision, he said: “This morning’s announcement was a moment of great weakness.

“I’d had a meeting with [director] Fabio [Pecchia] and everyone else to tell them I wanted to stop.

“I had a real low moment.

“However, thanks to the tenacity of this man: Fabio, as well as the president, thanks to my wife, my children, I want to continue and show I can still do it.”

Cassano looked set to quit football after playing no part in the 2016-17 season after Sampdoria failed to even hand him a squad number.

But, Verona — who returned to Serie A a year after being relegated — have offered the 35-year-old one last chance in football.

Antonio Cassano has fallen out with numerous managers throughout career
Antonio Cassano has fallen out with numerous managers throughout career
AP:Associated Press


Antonio Cassano celebrates with Mario Balotelli while playing for Italy
Antonio Cassano celebrates with Mario Balotelli while playing for Italy
EPA

Cassano shot to prominence at Bari when, as a 19-year-old, he scored a sensational last minute winner against Inter Milan back in 1999.

He became the world’s most-expensive teenager when he joined Italian champions Roma for around £20million in 2001.

But, despite his huge potential, he regularly clashed with team-mates and was often dropped.

Cassano a massive opportunity when he signed for Real Madrid in 2006, but he arrived so overweight, he earned the nickname “Gordito” — The Little Fat One.

Antonio Cassano shot to prominence with goal for Bari against Inter Milan in 1999
Antonio Cassano shot to prominence with goal for Bari against Inter Milan in 1999
Getty Images
Antonio Cassano in action for Roma against Arsenal in Champions League
Antonio Cassano in action for Roma against Arsenal in Champions League
News Group Newspapers Ltd

And, he fell out with boss Fabio Capello and was suspended before eventually being sold onto Sampdoria.

Back in Italy, he showed some of the best form of his career and helped the club qualify for the Champions League in 2010.

However, it wasn’t long until he again fell out with the club’s hierarchy and he saw his contract terminated in January 2011, allowing him to join AC Milan.

Antonio Cassano enjoyed friendship with David Beckham while at Real Madrid
Antonio Cassano enjoyed friendship with David Beckham while at Real Madrid
Getty Images
Antonio Cassano in action against Roma during first spell with Sampdoria
Antonio Cassano in action against Roma during first spell with Sampdoria
AP:Associated Press
Antonio Cassano married Carolina Marcialis back in 2010
Antonio Cassano married Carolina Marcialis back in 2010
ANSA

He won the first league title of his career with the Rossoneri that season, but requested to leave at the end of the following campaign after Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva were sold to Paris Saint-Germain.

Cassano joined Inter Milan, but lasted just 12 months and signed for Parma.

It was here where he produced arguably the best performances of his career as the club finished an impressive sixth despite the backdrop of bankruptcy.

Antonio Cassano quit AC Milan after Rossoneri opted to sell Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Antonio Cassano quit AC Milan after Rossoneri opted to sell Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Getty Images
Antonio Cassano spent a season with Inter Milan but left to join Parma
Antonio Cassano spent a season with Inter Milan but left to join Parma
News Group Newspapers Ltd
Antonio Cassano enjoyed arguably best period of his career at Parma
Antonio Cassano enjoyed arguably best period of his career at Parma
Getty Images

He was forced to leave in 2015 as the club went into liquidation and returned to Sampdoria.

However, just one season later he was excluded from the first team.

Cassano joined Verona and contributed an assist on his pre-season debut.


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Watch a 16-year-old Francesco Totti announce himself at Under-17 World Cup in 1993
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