Friday December 22 2017
Insigne: Cassano for Ballon d’Or, Italy…

Lorenzo Insigne claims Antonio Cassano could have won the Ballon d’Or “if he had the right head”, while Italy never had any problems with Giampiero Ventura.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday, Insigne was asked about some of his more enigmatic teammates and whether there were any murmurs of discontent under Ventura after he failed to take Italy to the World Cup.

“Did Balotelli say he’d be willing to play for Napoli? Mario has the potential to be great, he seems old, but he’s only 27 years old,” the Napoli attacker told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“He just has to understand that he’s strong and I hope he does before he stops playing.

“Cassano? He’s a very good lad, you just have to know how to take him. He has a particular character and he grew up in particular situations.

“He took different paths and I’m sorry for him. If he had the right head, he could’ve won the Ballon d’Or in his early years, when there was no Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Donnarumma? I heard from him after the dispute [of his Milan contract]. He was sorry because he’s always been a Milan fan.

“It’s strange that he signed a new contract and then all that mess was made, but I can assure you that he’s a good lad, and I hope everything will be resolved in the best way for him and his family.

“Is it an exaggeration to say that I’m the heir to Pirlo, Del Piero and Totti? I’m proud to be associated with these great champions who have made history in Italian football.

“I’ll stay on this path, which I think is the right one. At 26, you can always improve. I hope to stay on these levels for a long time in order to reach the top with Napoli and the national team.

“Would I accept Ventura’s invitation for a meal? Certainly, why not? Great players played in the two games against Sweden. We all accepted his decisions and trusted him.

“We’re truly sorry that Italy didn’t qualify for the World Cup. He was the one that made decisions and I always obeyed them.

“I hope there are better times for me too and that they choose the right CT so that Italy come back stronger than before.

“I could play in the 2022 World Cup at 31. It may be the right age for me to win it, but for now let’s start from scratch, with a man who can do well for the national team, with the Euros in between and us trying to win it.”

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