Cassano playing for Italy at the UEFA Euro 2012
|Full name||Antonio Cassano|
|Date of birth||12 July 1982|
|Place of birth||Bari, Italy|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Playing position||Second Striker|
|2007–2008||→ Sampdoria (loan)||22||(10)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 May 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Antonio Cassano (Italian pronunciation: [anˈtɔnjo kasˈsano]; born 12 July 1982) is an Italian professional footballer who plays for Serie A club Parma as a forward. He can also play as an attacking midfielder. Nicknamed Il Gioiello di Bari Vecchia ("the jewel of Old Bari"), he is known for his short temper as much as his ability on the pitch, which led to the coining of the neologism Cassanata by his former coach, Fabio Capello, in November 2002. The word is regularly used by Italian journalists as a euphemism for any behavior incompatible with team spirit in football. Cassano is described as a player who is "skillful and intelligent on the ball" who possesses "excellent vision and also impresses with his eye for goal". His best qualities are his trapping skills, dribbling and short passing accuracy.
Cassano was born in Bari and his father left the family shortly thereafter. He was raised in the Bari Vecchia neighbourhood, and began playing football at an early age. Cassano was spotted by an A.S. Bari scout and brought up through the team's youth system, and he made his Serie A debut for Bari against local rivals U.S. Lecce in 1999.
At the age of 19, Cassano signed with reigning Serie A champions A.S. Roma, for a transfer fee of 60billion Italian lire (about €30 million). His first season produced five goals, and he attracted media attention after openly clashing with coach Fabio Capello after he was left out of a practice match a few days after his international debut. In the 2003 Italian Cup final against A.C. Milan, Cassano was sent off after protesting an official's decision, and he flashed the sign of the horns at the referee while leaving the pitch.
He was omitted from the squad during Roma's tumultuous 2004–05 campaign while Luigi Delneri, Roma's third coach of the season (after Cesare Prandelli and Rudi Völler), was in charge. After Delneri himself resigned during the season, his replacement, Bruno Conti, returned Cassano to the starting lineup, with Cassano captaining the team in the absence of incumbent Francesco Totti, who was serving a five-match suspension.
During the 2005–06 preseason, Cassano was in constant conflict with club management over the renewal of his contract, which was due to expire on 30 June 2006. In January 2006, he acrimoniously parted ways with Roma and signed with Real Madrid. for just €5M.
Cassano became the second ever Italian player to sign for Real Madrid after former Roma teammate Christian Panucci. His début came on 18 January 2006, in a Spanish Cup match against Real Betis, and scored his first goal just three minutes after entering the match in the second half. However, just four months into his tenure with the club, he began gaining weight due to poor eating habits, which resulted in Madrid fining him for every gram he remained over his playing weight.
On 30 October, Madrid's official website announced that Cassano had been suspended due to his “disrespect” of Capello, who had joined the club at the beginning of 2006–07 season, following a dressing room argument arising from his omission from the team after a game against Gimnàstic de Tarragona, and was subsequently benched along with David Beckham and Ronaldo. In an interview with a Roman radio station, Cassano said he would "walk all the way back" to rejoin Roma, and indicated his eagerness to make peace with Totti, with whom Cassano had conflicted with before his departure from Roma. However, Cassano remained with Madrid after the January 2007 transfer window had closed, and the rest of his season was cut short by an ankle injury.
In an interview with Spanish radio in July 2007, Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón described Cassano's attitude as "unsustainable in the last couple of months" and indicated that he would be leaving the club.
On 13 August 2007, Sampdoria took Cassano on a one-year loan, agreeing to pay €1.2 million of his €4.2 million salary. He was presented to approximately 2,500 fans five days later. In his first press conference, Cassano said that since his first-choice number 18 was already taken by teammate Vladimir Koman, he had instead chosen 99, because 9 plus 9 equals 18.
He made his Sampdoria début in the Derby della Lanterna against Genoa on 23 September, in which he was substituted by former Roma teammate Vincenzo Montella in the final minutes of the match. Cassano scored his first league goal upon his return against Atalanta a week later, in a 3–0 victory. He scored in three consecutive games in January, and helped end league leaders Inter Milan's winning league run with a goal in a 1–1 draw. However, Cassano was sent off in a 2–2 draw with Torino FC on 2 March 2008, which he compounded by hurling his shirt at the referee as he left the pitch, and was punished with a five-match ban. Sampdoria ended the season with a UEFA Cup berth, while Cassano was acquired on a permanent basis by the club on free transfer (plus bonus) from Madrid.
In his second season, Cassano confirmed to have temperamentally improved, also becoming vice-captain for the team behind Angelo Palombo. After the January signing of Giampaolo Pazzini from ACF Fiorentina, Cassano managed to form a fruitful striking partnership with the former viola forward, that was praised by both media and Sampdoria supporters, and led club chairman Riccardo Garrone to compare it with striking duo of Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini that led Sampdoria to win their only scudetto to date, an opinion that was later shared also by both Vialli and Mancini.
His third season with Sampdoria again began very well for Cassano, who affirmed himself as a valid assist-man for Pazzini, and being instrumental in the club's impressive seasonal start, that led them up to first place after a 1–0 home win to Inter. However, a result crisis, including a 3–0 defeat in the local derby against crosstown rivals Genoa, left Sampdoria down to mid-table on January, leading head coach Luigi Delneri to put Cassano off the team for "technical and tactical reasons", casting doubts about the player's future at the club.
In the final days of the transfer window, he was linked with a move on loan to Fiorentina, that was however denied with an official statement from the club, but was described by the media as Cassano's own refusal to leave Sampdoria. This was confirmed by Cassano himself through an official statement published on Sampdoria's website, citing his relationship with club chairman Riccardo Garrone, his teammates and the team supporters as the main reason for his choice.
On October 2010 Cassano was excluded from the first team squad with immediate effect after he had a heated row with chairman Riccardo Garrone following the player's refusal to attend an award ceremony. Following such events, Sampdoria formally applied for a contract termination to a league arbitration panel, a position that was confirmed even after Cassano apologised to Garrone and the club. On 16 December, the arbitration panel ordered Sampdoria to reinclude Cassano into the first team from 1 January 2011, rejecting the blucerchiati's request for a contract termination, but also concluding Cassano will be paid only 50% of his salary for the remainder of his contract.
On 20 December 2010, it was reported that A.C. Milan, Sampdoria and the player agreed the installment plan to pay a €5 million to Real Madrid which was indicated in Cassano's buy-out clause when he left the Spanish club. Eventually Sampdoria paid €5 million to Real Madrid; Milan paid €3.33 million to Sampdoria, while Cassano had a wage cut with Milan. Cassano then signed a three-and-a-half year contract with Milan, which was later confirmed by Milan's owner Silvio Berlusconi. He made his debut for his new club in a 1–0 win against Cagliari Calcio where he came on as a substitute for Alexander Merkel in the latter stages of the game. He scored his first goal for Milan in a 4–0 win against Parma. He went on to score three more goals that season, two against former clubs Bari and Sampdoria and the other one a penalty against fierce rivals Internazionale.
He never really claimed a spot in the starting XI and was behind Zlatan Ibrahimović, Alexandre Pato and Robinho in the Milan pecking order and due to his wish to keep his spot in the Italian national side, a lot of speculation formed over his future with links to other clubs. However, he stayed with Milan, and after a good pre-season, scored in the first Serie A game of 2011–12 against S.S. Lazio.
After reportedly being upset over the sale of Milan's key players, particularly Zlatan Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva, Cassano requested a transfer. On 21 August 2012, A.C. Milan and Internazionale reached an agreement over an exchange deal involving Giampaolo Pazzini and Cassano, with a compensatory sum of €7.5 million in favor of the Nerazzurri. (Pazzini tagged for €13 million and Cassano for €5.5 million.) He officially joined the team the next day. Cassano signed a 2-year contract.
After only one season at Inter, Cassano joined Parma on 4 July 2013 in temporary deal. He would continue to wear the no. 99 shirt. In February 2014 he signed a pre-contract with Parma for 2014–15 season.
He was part of Italy's UEFA Euro 2004 squad as a reserve, but after Francesco Totti was suspended following a spitting incident with Christian Poulsen in a group match against Denmark, Cassano was inserted into the starting lineup for a 1–1 draw with Sweden in which he scored. He also netted a last-minute winner in a 2–1 victory over Bulgaria, but Italy were eliminated in the group stage on goal difference.
After a poor season with Real Madrid, Cassano was left off coach Marcelo Lippi's final roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The Azzurri went on to lift the trophy in Berlin, beating France in a penalty shootout.
In September 2006, Cassano was called up by new manager Roberto Donadoni for UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers against Lithuania and France. However, he was not selected again until surprisingly being included in the UEFA Euro 2008 roster. He went scoreless in the tournament as Italy were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Spain after a penalty shootout.
Lippi returned as coach for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign and did not select Cassano during the qualifying matches or the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals. After a two-year absence from the Azzurri team, and following widespread criticism from the media towards Lippi about his exclusion from the World Cup squad, Cassano was readmitted into the Italian team on 6 August 2010 by new head coach Cesare Prandelli for his first game in charge of the team, a friendly match against Côte d'Ivoire played on 10 August at Upton Park, London. Almost a month later, in Italy's Euro 2012 qualifier played in Estonia Cassano scored the tying goal in a 1–2 away victory and also assisted Leonardo Bonucci's second goal with a back-heel. Cassano scored a long-range goal from just outside the box in Italy's 5–0 qualifying win over the Faroe Islands. He scored again against Estonia helping Italy secure a 3–0 win.
He played six matches and scored one goal against Ireland during UEFA Euro 2012, where the Italian team achieved the final and lost 4–0 against Spain. In July 2012, he was fined by UEFA for making a homophobic comment at a press conference during Euro 2012. At the conference, when asked if he thought there were any homosexual players in the Italian team, he replied "I hope there are none". He later issued a statement saying he had been misinterpreted.
Despite not featuring during the qualification campaign, Cassano was selected in Italy's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On 20 June 2014, at the age of 31, Cassano made his FIFA World Cup debut as a substitute in a 1–0 loss to Costa Rica.
Cassano got engaged to water polo player Carolina Marcialis in 2008, then married on 19 June 2010 at a church, Chiesa di San Martino, in Portofino. The couple have two sons, Christopher and Lionel (named after Lionel Messi).
On 30 October 2011 it was reported that Cassano complained of finding it difficult to speak or move when the team returned to Milan. On 2 November 2011 A.C. Milan announced and confirmed that Antonio Cassano was suffering from ischemic-based cerebral damage, though it should be temporary. Cassano underwent minor heart surgery soon after. He returned to action in the Serie A on 25 April 2012, even scoring in a fixture against Genoa.
On Friday 1 February 2013 Cassano had a locker room brawl with his coach at Inter, Andrea Stramaccioni. It occurred following Friday's training session and had started off as a relatively normal discussion before the pair got into a heated slanging match, then degenerated into pushing and shoving before the other players intervened to pull them apart.
Cassano is a brand ambassador for Diadora, currently wearing their Evoluzione K Pro GX 14 football boot in Black/Fluorescent Yellow
Reference: La Gazzetta dello Sport
- As of 9 November 2012.
|Italy national team|
- Scores list Italy's tally first.
|1||12 November 2003||Warsaw, Poland||Poland||3–1||Lost||Friendly|
|2||18 June 2004||Lisbon, Portugal||Sweden||1–1||Draw||UEFA Euro 2004|
|3||22 June 2004||Guimarães, Portugal||Bulgaria||2–1||Win||UEFA Euro 2004|
|4||3 September 2010||Tallinn, Estonia||Estonia||1–2||Win||UEFA Euro 2012 Qualification|
|5||7 September 2010||Florence, Italy||Faroe Islands||5–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2012 Qualification|
|6||3 June 2011||Modena, Italy||Estonia||3–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2012 Qualification|
|7||2 September 2011||Tórshavn, Faroe Islands||Faroe Islands||1–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2012 Qualification|
|8||11 October 2011||Pescara, Italy||Northern Ireland||3–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2012 Qualification|
|9||11 October 2011||Pescara, Italy||Northern Ireland||3–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2012 Qualification|
|10||18 June 2012||Gdańsk, Poland||Republic of Ireland||2–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2012|
- Serie A Young Footballer of the Year – 2001, 2003
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- "Antonio Cassano fined for Euro 2012 homosexual remark". BBC. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- "World Cup 2014: Italy omit Giuseppe Rossi from final squad". BBC. 1 June 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Italy 0-1 Costa Rica". BBC. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
- "Cassano si è sposato (Cassano has been married)" (in Italian). Corriere dello Sport. 19 June 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
- "Cassano names son after Messi". theworldgame.sbs.com.au. Agence France Presse. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
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- Milan's Cassano out for months, to have surgery. Rediff.com. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
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- Staff, Football Italia. "Strama-Cassano in locker room brawl!". Football Italia. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "Cassano in the Diadora Evoluzione K Pro GX 14". FootballBoots.co.uk. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- "Antonio Cassano – Goals in International Matches". National Football Teams. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "Antonio Cassano – Goals in International Matches". Retrieved 12 October 2011.