Saturday March 22 2014
Cassano: I’d take Totti to Brazil

Antonio Cassano says he sees value in Italy taking Francesco Totti to the World Cup, whilst he also has words of advice on understanding Mario Balotelli.

The 31-year-old is back on the Azzurro agenda heading into the run-up to the World Cup in Brazil this summer, with Cesare Prandelli admitting he is in contention for a spot on the plane.

On from welcoming the prospect of that challenge, the Parma playmaker has considered another name that could join him in South America for the summer, Francesco Totti.

“He is a phenomenon. Even at 37, 38, he is scary. I would  always call him up,” Cassano has enthused to the Corriere dello Sport today.

“I do not want any trouble with Prandelli, I do not want to make his selections for him.

“But, put Totti in the field, against Spain, England, anyone we would face, and he would concern anyone. And that can mean so much.

“Our good relationship? Yes, we met last time when the match [between Roma and Parma] was suspended.

“The water… [the game was rained off]. It’s always a pleasure, though since then we’ve not spoken.

“Do I hope he goes to Brazil alongside me? Yes, I hope so.”

Cassano was asked who his true friends are in football.

“The truth? I have three great friends. Three, full stop. Two from Bari and another is a guy from Naples who lives in Rome.

“Football allows you to meet so many people. It allows you to live many adventures together. There are teammates with whom you do a lot. And they give you a lot.

“The relationship remains, but contact is then reduced. Once you leave the team, you live certain emotions less. And then maybe we lose sight of each other. Football is like that.

“A hug is important, friendship counts at that moment. Then sometimes much compassion remains. But the great friendships of a lifetime are those that do not have the colour of football shirts.”

Cassano’s possible return to the national team would see him restart a relationship with Mario Balotelli, who has come under scrutiny of late for his performances at Milan.

“I can only say one thing. Carrot and stick with Balotelli and take him as he is. Do not try to change him.

“He is a good guy. But he is a bit like me, I have to be taken in the right way. And I too in certain situations saw that the right way did not find me.

“However, Balotelli is as you see him. Do not try to invent another Balotelli. Speak to him with honesty and certain things will be resolved.”