Thursday April 27 2017
Cassano: ‘Ready to return’

Antonio Cassano is “about to return” to Serie A, but would go to Serie B for Virtus Entella or Parma.

The forward hasn’t played at all this season after falling out with Sampdoria and being forced to train with the youth team.

In January the Blucerchiati released the Italian international from his contract, but FantAntonio says he can still cut it in the top flight.

“I’ve had more time to dedicate to wife Carolina and my children, Christopher and Lionel,” Cassano explained in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I also watched the legends on TV: [Lionel] Messi, [Roger] Federer and Valentino Rossi. But the free ride is over, Cassano is about to return.

“In two months I’ll have a new team and I need to be physically ready. Right now I’m four or five kilos overweight but I haven’t played for a long time and it’s normal to have put something on.

“Every day I go to the Riattiva di Lavagna training centre, I miss ball work and the rhythm of the game and in a few days I’ll ask Estella to train with their kids.

“However, the more time goes by the more convinced I am that I can return to being a protagonist. If it doesn't go well I’ll stop right away, I’m not just here for the sake of appearances.

“In January? Talks were advanced with [Zdenek] Zeman’s Pescara, Palermo, Crotone, Entella and I also had a chat with Verona.

“Their President, [Maurizio] Setti, is like me it’s a perfect club. It didn’t fit my choice though because I didn’t feel physically ready and I couldn’t risk a flop. It’ll all be different in two months.

“I’ve had offers from China, the Emirates and MLS, but I’m not interested. I don’t need the money. I want to play in Italy.

“I’m intrigued by Udinese, Bologna and Sassuolo. It would also be beautiful to play in Verona in Serie A. Fantastic fans, 25,000 in the stadium…

“I’d go to B to do something historic like bringing Gozzi’s Entellla to Serie A, but I hope they’ll already get there this year.

“Or, in case of promotion to Serie B, I’d happily go back to Parma. A beautiful city.

“My departure from Parma? When I realised they couldn’t even pay the gardner I had two choices: beat someone up - those responsible for the disaster - or go away.

“I preferred to settle my contract, giving up a lot of money. I had a great Coach at Parma, [Roberto] Donadoni.

“I hurt him, I’ve apologised several times. I’d like to work with him again.”

Cassano was training with the Samp youths until February, then was no longer welcome. Is there a reason?

“I took the lads out for dinner last week. They invited me to go to Bogliasco on Saturday for the match with Trapani.

“As far as [Massimo] Ferrero and [Antonio] Romei were concerned I could have kept training, but someone thought I was a burden. I think it was [Coach Marco] Giampaolo.

“In a group without personality I can be [a burden], but at Real [Madrid] for example no-one told me I was a problem.

“Sampdoria? It’s a closed chapter, now I only feel indifference. I can’t argue with Ferrero though because one day he says cups and the other swords. The real President, in my opinion, is the lawyer Romei.

“I argued with him after the derby and it was all over. He came into the dressing room after the 0-3 with Genoa and said: ‘you played as is we weren’t paying your wages’.

“He wanted a fight, I gave him one. And I paid for it.

“The fans? There’s a percentage I don’t like, but I’ve never thought bad things about the Blucerchiati fans or I wouldn’t have done everything to go back. Maybe that was a mistake.

“As for former teammates, I haven’t heard from any of them.”

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with