Antonio Cassano thanked Cesare Prandelli for saving his career, but revealed he “will quit in three or four years at the most.”
The Italy striker scored a brace in tonight's 3-0 victory over Northern Ireland and has been essential during the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
“The important thing was to have a good game tonight, which we did, but now we have to keep this consistency and style in Euro 2012. I think we can continue like this and achieve great things,” he told Rai Sport.
“It was my first time playing with Sebastian Giovinco. We're both tiny, about 1.40m between us, but got on well together and it's always easy to play alongside someone with quality.
“My volley was good. Every now and then a compliment is handy, seeing as I've been massacred in the media for 13 years!”
However, Cassano revealed he has no intention of taking his career beyond the next few years.
“I've been a clown since birth, I'm not capable of being serious! This morning I told Gigi Buffon I'm one of the oldest in the side, but only have 25 caps.
“I keep coming in and out, but in three or four years I'll stop with the Nazionale. I think I'll play football for only that time, have a good Euros and a good World Cup, then at the age of 33 call it a day so I can enjoy my family.
“I want to be gone when I'm in good shape, not when I'm struggling. Will that be it for me and football? Of course, playing is the only thing I know how to do! I can't talk, I can't do anything.
“For years I have been stressed out, as all I have to do is scratch my nose and I get turned into a problem. Football has been the most wonderful thing in the world for me, but I am a little tired, so I'll give another three and a half years, then that'll do.”
When told he hadn't won much in his career, Cassano took responsibility for his many mistakes.
“Sport gives you back what you put into it. I didn't put enough in, so I didn't get much out. If Buffon won 10 times as much as me, it's because he was the absolute number one in his role. I was one of many.
“Next year I'll be 30. I would like another three years at the top and then that's it. Things are becoming routine for me and I'm no good with that kind of situation.”
The Milan man thanked Italy Coach Prandelli for rescuing him during his many problems with Sampdoria and then the Rossoneri.
“I must above all thank Prandelli, as in my moment of difficulty before Spain, I talked to him for half an hour. He gave me his faith and was close to me. It was what I needed to get a strong start with Milan, too. Aside from football, we have a wonderful rapport and I want to thank him, as when everyone criticised me, he stood by my side.
“As for journalists, I'm entirely sure 70 per cent of the problem is me, but when I get it right 30 per cent of the time, the media still say I'm wrong.
“Besides, after me you'll have Mario Balotelli to talk about for the next 10 years! He's another good character for you.”