Antonio Cassano is an immensely talented player and one who has been given more than his fair share of opportunities by clubs, Coaches and fans. Unfortunately, we must all now accept that his deep personality flaws mean he’ll never deliver on that promise. He’ll probably do well at Parma and win over the crowd with some glorious flicks and tricks, but the tantrum is now less a risk and more an inevitability.
“Everyone must be aware that when you have Antonio, it is for better or worse. Throughout my career I have achieved 30-40 per cent of what I was capable of,” he said during his presentation Press conference at the Stadio Tardini. That’s precisely the problem – after so many years it has become evident there is more ‘worse’ than there is ‘better.’ Is it worth the bother having FantAntonio in your side if he’ll cause trouble more often than he helps the team? This is after all a player who had serious health problems and several injuries on top of those. Nothing about the man is reliable: not his form, not his fitness and certainly not his mentality.
The only predictable element of Cassano’s career is that he will leave a club in controversial circumstances, slamming the door in a strop and insulting those who had previously given him a chance. Sampdoria revived his career after the Real Madrid problems and he was sold after hurling abuse at President Riccardo Garrone. Milan nursed him back to health after a stroke and he repaid them a few months later by demanding an exit with barely-concealed brattiness. A self-avowed Inter fan, Cassano still managed to burn bridges there with Andrea Stramaccioni and Walter Mazzarri. Roberto Donadoni put his neck on the line to bring Cassano to Euro 2008, but you just know in a year or two we’ll be hearing the same comments in another Press conference after moving to yet another club.
“He did a few silly things, but has matured now and at the age of 31 won’t behave the same way he did when he was 20,” insisted Parma President Tommaso Ghirardi. We’ve heard this too many times now. If you have not achieved some sense of maturity at 31 after settling down with a wife and two children, you’re never going to.
Cassano is a big brat, albeit a talented one. Let’s stop beating about the bush and pretending this time it will be different. Just accept the situation, for better or worse.