Antonio Cassano goes back over his clashes with Fabio Capello, Real Madrid chiefs and a potential Sampdoria return. “I am the greatest talent to have thrown everything away.”
FantAntonio spoke to Sky Sport Italia about his chaotic career and the many wasted opportunities.
“I am the greatest talent to have thrown everything away in recent years, because I really did throw myself away,” confessed Cassano.
“It’s one thing to change, another to not want to train, insult everyone and start arguments from morning till night. The ‘wild genius who breaks the rules’ thing only goes so far, and I really did cross the line too many times.
“Children change you. If I’d had my kids when I was 20, I’d have taught them all the wrong lessons. I’ve improved now and it’s above all thanks to my wife. I’m so proud to have her by my side.”
Cassano shot to fame at Bari, then bonded with Francesco Totti at Roma before his ill-fated move to Real Madrid in January 2006.
“The biggest regret is not making the most of the opportunity to play for the biggest club in history at the age of 23, with teammates like Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo. I threw away a huge chance at Real Madrid.
“I was effectively replacing Luis Figo and Michael Owen, so I was good, but I caused one disaster after another. Capello arrived at Real Madrid afterwards. I’d lost 16kg in training, scored two goals in three games and he benched me for the fourth. I lost my mind, and when you disrespect Capello, he cuts you out.
“He gave me another chance even after all that. He did so much for me, but I did precious little for him in return.”
Cassano continued his unfortunate tendency to destroy good relationships when he famously clashed with Sampdoria President Riccardo Garrone.
“The best experience of my career was at Sampdoria. I was coming off 18 dark months at Real Madrid, but I rediscovered myself and did something extraordinary in Genoa.
“We finished fourth in Serie A and reached the Coppa Italia Final with what was frankly an average squad. I also met my wife during that experience and that is why I will forever remain in Genoa.”
There were plans for him to work for Samp in a different role after his retirement, revealed the 37-year-old.
“I met with (Sampdoria President Massimo) Ferrero six months ago, we took some time to evaluate things. We talked and my idea was to be a director of sport. We’ll have to see if he has changed his mind.”
It’s a far cry from what Cassano believes he would’ve done without a football career.
“I barely went to school and was hardly an intellectual, but I don’t think I would’ve fallen in with a bad crowd, as that would’ve upset my mother too much. I’d probably have ended up working in a butcher’s or a supermarket.”