Former Italy international Antonio Cassano has sensationally “un-retired” from football a few hours after telling his Verona team-mates that he was missing his family too much and wanted to quit the game.
Cassano, 35, who joined Verona only eight days ago and made the decision to leave the club and retire from football early on Tuesday.
However, after Verona have promised that they they will ensure that his family move closer to him, he held a press conference in the afternoon to tell the media that he had reconsidered and was now looking forward to “having a fun season” with his new club.
“This morning I had a moment of weakness,” he said. “A ‘fall’, but then I thought about it again. If I had decided to go through with this gut-feeling it would have been a catastrophic choice and I’ve gone with my gut-feeling too many times in my career.”
“I had a sudden feeling of missing my family and I got too emotional. But now I want to have a fantastic season. I’ve already lost seven kilos and I am fully motivated. Don’t be irritated by all this, in two games’ time we will forget all about this.”
Cassano began his professional career at Bari in 1999 and played for, among others, Roma, Real Madrid, Milan and Internazionale. While considered by many as one of the most talented players of his generation, he missed Italy’s World Cup triumph in 2006 after a poor season with Real.
But since joining last week, the veteran had already played in two friendlies for Verona and impressed in both, before Tuesday’s series of events.
Verona, who won promotion back to the Italian top-flight after a brief season in Serie B, will now hope he can form a productive partnership up front with Giampaolo Pazzini, whom he played with at Sampdoria.