Antonio Cassano: Wikis

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Antonio Cassano
Antonio Cassano training.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth July 12, 1982 (1982-07-12) (age 27)
Place of birth Bari, Italy
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Second striker
Club information
Current club Sampdoria
Number 99
Youth career
Bari
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2001 Bari 48 (6)
2001–2005 Roma 118 (39)
2006–2008 Real Madrid 19 (2)
2007–2008 Sampdoria (loan) 22 (10)
2008– Sampdoria 52 (15)
National team
2000–2002 Italy U-21 9 (3)
2003–2008 Italy 15 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of August 30, 2009.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of June 22, 2008

Antonio Cassano (born July 12, 1982 in Bari) is an Italian footballer who plays for Serie A club Sampdoria, mainly as a second striker.

Nicknamed Peter Pan, Fantantonio, El Pibe de Bari (a clear reference to Diego Maradona's nickname) and Il Gioiello di Bari Vecchia (the jewel of Old Bari), he is known for his short temper, as well as his ability on the pitch, which led to the coining of the neologism Cassanata by his former coach, Fabio Capello, in November 2002. The word is regularly used by Italian journalists as a euphemism for any behavior incompatible with team spirit in football.[1]

Contents

Club career

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Early career

Cassano was born the day after Italy's win over Germany in the 1982 FIFA World Cup final,[2] and his father left the family shortly thereafter. He was raised in the Bari Vecchia neighbourhood, and began playing football at an early age. Cassano was spotted by an A.S. Bari scout and brought up through the team's youth system, and he made his Serie A debut for Bari against local rivals U.S. Lecce in 1999.

Roma

At the age of nineteen, Cassano signed with reigning Serie A champions A.S. Roma, for a transfer fee of 28 million. His first season produced five goals, and he attracted media attention after openly clashing with coach Fabio Capello after he was left out of a practice match a few days after his international debut. In the 2003 Italian Cup final against A.C. Milan, Cassano was sent off after protesting an official's decision, and he flashed the sign of the horns at the referee while leaving the pitch.

He was omitted from the squad during Roma's tumultuous 2004-05 campaign while Luigi Del Neri, Roma's third coach of the season (after Capello and Rudi Völler), was in charge. After Del Neri himself resigned during the season, his replacement, Bruno Conti, returned Cassano to the starting lineup, with Cassano captaining the team in the absence of incumbent Francesco Totti, who was serving a five-match suspension.

During the 2005-06 preseason, Cassano was in constant conflict with club management over the renewal of his contract, which was due to expire on June 30, 2006.[3] In January 2006, he acrimoniously parted ways with Roma and signed with Real Madrid.[4]

Real Madrid

Cassano became the second ever Italian player to sign for Real Madrid after former Roma teammate Christian Panucci. His début came on 18 January 2006, in a Spanish Cup match against Real Betis, and scored his first goal just three minutes after entering the match in the second half.[2] However, just four months into his tenure with the club, he began gaining weight due to poor eating habits, which resulted in Madrid fining him for every gram he remained over his playing weight.

On 30 October, Madrid's official website announced that Cassano had been suspended due to his “disrespect” of Capello, who had joined the club at the beginning of 2006-07 season, following a dressing room argument arising from his omission from the team after a game against Gimnàstic de Tarragona,[5] and was subsequently benched along with David Beckham and Ronaldo. In an interview with a Roman radio station, Cassano said he would "walk all the way back" to rejoin Roma, and indicated his eagerness to make peace with Totti, with whom Cassano had conflicted with before his departure from Roma. However, Cassano remained with Madrid after the January 2007 transfer window had closed, and the rest of his season was cut short by an ankle injury.

In an interview with Spanish radio in July 2007, Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón described Cassano's attitude as "unsustainable in the last couple of months" and indicated that he would be leaving the club.[6] Cassano confirmed he had turned down an offer of nearly £3 million per season from Premier League club Manchester City, and instead chose to return to Italy with U.C. Sampdoria.

Sampdoria

On 13 August 2007, Sampdoria took Cassano on a one-year loan, agreeing to pay €1.2 million of his €4.2 million salary.[2] He was presented to approximately 2,500 fans five days later. In his first press conference, Cassano said that since his first-choice number 18 was already taken by teammate Vladimir Koman, he had instead chosen 99, as a tribute to Ronaldo, who was wearing the same number with Milan at the time.

He made his Sampdoria début in the Derby della Lanterna against Genoa C.F.C. on 23 September, in which he was substituted by former Roma teammate Vincenzo Montella in the final minutes of the match. Cassano scored his first league goal upon his return against Atalanta a week later, in a 3-0 victory. He scored in three consecutive games in January, and helped end league leaders Internazionale's winning league run with a goal in a 1-1 draw. However, Cassano was sent off in a 2-2 draw with Torino FC on 2 March 2008, which he compounded by hurling his jersey at the referee as he left the pitch,[7] and was punished with a five-match ban. Sampdoria ended the season with a UEFA Cup berth, while Cassano was acquired on a permanent basis by the club on a free transfer from Madrid.

In his second season, Cassano confirmed to have temperamentally improved, also becoming vice-captain for the team behind Angelo Palombo. After the January signing of Giampaolo Pazzini from ACF Fiorentina, Cassano managed to form a fruitful striking partnership with the former viola forward, that was praised by both media and Sampdoria supporters, and led club chairman Riccardo Garrone to compare it with striking duo of Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini that led Sampdoria to win their only scudetto to date,[8] an opinion that was later shared also by both Vialli and Mancini.[9][10] His third season with Sampdoria again began very well for Cassano. He scored 1 goal and assisted 3 in the first 2 Serie A games.

International career

Cassano with the Italian team

Cassano has fifteen caps and three goals with Italy. His début came in November 2003 against Poland, in which he scored his first goal. He was part of Italy's UEFA Euro 2004 squad as a reserve, but after Totti was suspended following a spitting incident with Christian Poulsen in a group match against Denmark, Cassano was inserted into the starting lineup for a 1-1 draw with Sweden in which he scored. He also netted a last-minute winner in a 2-1 victory over Bulgaria, but Italy were eliminated in the group stage on goal difference.

Cassano was left off the final roster for the 2006 World Cup, but was called up for two Euro 2008 qualifying matches in September 2006. He was part of the finals roster and went scoreless in the tournament as Italy were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Spain after a penalty shootout.

Club statistics

Reference: La Gazzetta dello Sport

Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
1999-00 Bari Serie A 21 3 - - 21 3
2000-01 27 3 - - 27 3
2001-02 Roma Serie A 22 5 1 1 5 0 27 6
2002-03 27 9 - 11 4 38 13
2003-04 33 14 - 6 4 39 18
2004-05 31 9 1 1 3 1 34 10
2005-06 5 2 - 2 1 7 3
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
2005-06 Real Madrid La Liga 12 1 4 1 1 0 17 2
2006-07 7 1 1 1 4 0 12 2
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
2007-08 Sampdoria Serie A 22 10 2 0 1 0 25 10
2008-09 34 12 4 1 6 2 44 15
2009-10 18 3 1 2 0 0 19 5
Total Italy 188 55 9 2 28 10 227 68
Spain 19 2 5 2 5 0 29 4
Career Total 207 57 10 4 34 11 253 73

Honours

References

External links


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