Cassano retires from Verona – again, says wife ‘was wrong’

Cassano retires from Verona - again, says wife 'was wrong'
Antonio Cassano during his time at Sampdoria. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP
Former Italy international striker Antonio Cassano confirmed his retirement for the second time in a week on Monday, bringing an eventful end to a colourful career.

The 35-year initally announced he was retiring last Tuesday, before backtracking on his decision just hours after breaking the news to his Verona team-mates.

He then said on Monday that he was quitting Verona only two weeks after joining the Serie A club, but added that he would look to continue playing elsewhere.

However, Cassano later posted another message on the Twitter account of his wife, Carolina Marcialis, to clarify that he was indeed hanging up his boots.

“Contrary to what appeared on my wife's official profiles on social media, I would like to clarify the following,” Cassano said.

“Carolina was wrong. After thinking and reflecting, in the end I decided: Antonio Cassano will not play football anymore.

“I apologise to the city of Verona, all the fans, to president Maurizio Setti, to sports director Filippo Fusco, to coach Fabio Pecchia, to my team-mates and to the medical and technical staff.

“At this moment, I feel my priority is to be close to my children and wife,” he added.

Cassano, renowned for his volatile behaviour, signed for Verona on July 10th after the club secured promotion back to Serie A.

The veteran forward hadn't played since his release from Sampdoria in January.

Last week he threatened to leave Verona, before pulling a dramatic about-turn.

“This morning I had a moment of weakness, I had a meeting with (head coach) Fabio Pecchia and the others to say that I wanted to stop,” Cassano told reporters on July 18th.

“I was yearning for my family but the club's management has asked them to come and they gave me the strength to carry on.

“My wife told me, 'the kids and myself can't not watch you play'. That will give me strength that I haven't had in 18 years. I want to rise to the challenge and have a crazy season,” he added.

Cassano first came to prominence with Roma before spells with Real Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan, and scored 10 goals in 39 international appearances.

He was diagnosed with an atrial septal defect in his heart and underwent an operation under local anaesthetic in November 2011 which allowed him to continue his career.