Antonio Cassano‘s career has repeatedly been a sort of movie that everyone has seen over and over again. With a few differences in the context, his journey in any of the teams he has played for has consistently been pretty much the same: a loving and harmonic beginning, characterized by great performances and goals, that is rapidly switched by controversial episodes which always result in an unfortunate goodbye.
As a matter of fact, after the polemic endings at Roma, Real Madrid, Sampdoria, AC Milan and Inter, chances are that the 31-year-old will now also add his current team, Parma, into this particular list, considering his strong desire of leaving the Emilian club due to a lack of attachment to the colors.
Moreover, what is more impressive is the fact that, team after team, Cassano’s adventures are always shorter in time: despite one and half years at the Spanish club, he played the first four and half seasons with the Giallorossi and then three and half with the Blucerchiati. After that, one and half years with the Rossoneri, one with the Nerazzurri and now he could potentially say goodbye to Roberto Donadoni‘s team after only half a season.
Furthermore, his experiences with the Italian national team has not been any different. Excluding unexpected surprises, in fact, the so-called Fantantonio will probably end his career without having played one single edition of the FIFA World Cup, despite having had the merit of playing three-consecutive editions of the European Championship, including the one of 2012, when the Azzurri lost the final to Spain.
For such a talented player like Cassano, ending a career without playing a World Cup is highly significant. Many suggest that, especially for South Africa 2010, he did deserve to be called-up for his magnificent performances at Sampdoria. However, from the character perspective, he didn’t actually earn the merit of representing his country for such a prestigious tournament.
This point is mostly demonstrated by how little he was supported by the leaders of the Azzurri during the months prior to the event, when basically millions of fans even started to hate the boss Marcello Lippi for not calling him up, forgetting that he was the same coach who had taken Italy to the World Cup title only four years earlier.
Moreover, it has to be also considered that even the coach that Cassano had at Sampdoria until 2009, Walter Mazzarri, did not hesitate getting rid of him from Inter as he approached the club in the beginning of this season. In other words, how could have Lippi taken him to the World Cup if not even his coach at the club in which he was at his best wanted him?
Besides, regardless of whether it’s a right or wrong decision, it is only enough to compare how little the Azzurri players sponsored him in 2010 with how much they are doing it now for the presence of Roma’s captain Francesco Totti in Brazil 2014, to understand that the Parma player will hardly ever be missed in the national team.
Even the legendary Andrea Pirlo, who is definitely not famous for saying controversial quotes, refereed to Cassano in his own book as someone whose career priorities was not precisely related to actual soccer. As a consequence of this, his presence in any team can easily be uncomfortable for many players and coaches, who would much rather have individuals who work harder, even if they would lack talent and skills.
Ironically, what makes this situation even sadder is the fact that Cassano’s adventures with the Nazionale had started magnificently, as he was one of the few players that actually had a decent performance in the failing experience of Portugal 2004. His tears after the pathetic elimination in the group stage represented a great premise for a bright life in the team.
Unfortunately, his character struggles and immature behaviors prevented him to write the history of Italian soccer. For all these reasons, it is very simple to understand why Cassano will hardly ever be missed by any team or any important figure of the soccer world.