Topsy Turvy – A date with Antonio Cassano

I get nervous when footballers release the inevitable ghost-written autobiography.

Will I be violently slapped in the face reading rubbish in the shape of My Defence by Ashley Cole, Robbie Fowler’s: My Autobiography , Michael Owen’s yawner, the extremely boring Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground… you get the idea… and the utterly useless Wayne Rooney: My Story?

Will I lick my paws as I delve into the late Brian Clough’s: Walking on Water – My Life, Gazza by Paul Gascoine, George Best’s Scoring at Half Time, Paolo Di Canio’s inspirational autobiography and my current favorite Addicted by Tony Adams, a must read for fans of the beautiful game.

Publishers are aware that football fans will read almost anything written by their idols thus to continue steady line of profiting from the bookshelves yet beneath the heap of garbage released in the past 3 years, I quaked in my boots when I got wind of Antonio Cassano’s autobiography – surely this is another one of his larger than life antics.

I was wrong!

Dico Tutto’ – ‘I’ll Tell Everything is the story of a would be criminal whose footballing genius rescued him from a life of crime and violence and has rewarded him a life of good food, great sex and more importantly, lack of sanity on the football pitch. Starring Antonio Cassano, whose over the top personality coupled with a knack for insults to referees and managers are well documented,  the biggest waste of talent in recent years was destined to become an Italian football cult hero but thanks to sheer disregard for authority figures, the ex Roma and Real Madrid player’s fall from grace serves as a blueprint of what NOT to do for footballers labeled the “next big thing”.

Cassano’s football career a is a rough story of rags to riches; a poor kid from the Southern Italian city of Bari who spent most of his youth on the streets involved in easy schemes to strike it rich. “I was poor my whole life, but I never worked, mainly because I don’t know how to do anything.“said the Sampdorian striker who revealed to failing a grade 6 times from elementary school to primary school yet the self professed car fanatic skill on the football pitch didn’t go unnoticed as hometown club Bari signed him up into the youth ranks.

Tipped for greater things, Cassano duly delivered with a dazzling performance against Inter Milan during the 1999/2000 season which he scored a fantastic last minute wonder goal thus raised his profile and led to various clubs coveting his signature. Defending Seria A champions Roma stumped up the €28 million  asking price for him – a decision the Sensi family (the club owners) passionately regrets.

Alongside the legendary Totti and Batistuta, his first season at Roma was filled with ups and downs; he made his breakthrough into the Italian national team but paying homage to street culture, clashed with club manager Fabio Capello.  Armed with a “my way or the highway” attitude, he fell off the cradle at the Capital city and after 5 years of temper tantrums and quotes such as “he had a smell under his nose” ( regarding teammate Gabriel Batistuta), You’re not coaching those useless players you had at Udinese, this isn’t your house, it’s my house” (club manager Luciano Spaletti) and slagging off Rome’s favorite son Totti, he was signed, sealed and delivered to Real Madrid in exchange for €5.5 million – much to the delight of fans and teammates.

To say he never really got going at Real Madrid is an understatement. He stunk! A volatile mix of arrogance and unhealthy food resulted in fines for being overweight. ‘You’re a piece of shit, you’re more fake than Monopoly money” uttered Cassano when Fabio Capello disciplined him for well, being a Cassanata who were reunited during his disastrous spell at Real Madrid. Los Merengues followed in the same footsteps as the Giallorossi and shipped him back to Italy where Northern Italian club Sampdoria cautiously took him in.

His tenure at Sampdoria has been a success; his 15 goals last season helped the team to an 8th place finish and has even earned a recall to the Italian national team.

Permanently signed for an undisclosed fee at the end of his loan spell, Cassano return to form has caught the eye of Juventus, Inter Milan and oh, Man City, much to the ire of club chairman Riccardo Garrone who insists the playmaker is not for sale at any price or might be able for an over inflated fee. Mimicking Joey Barton, Cassano’s long lost brother, his temperment on the football pitch is still intact. The Sampdorian playmaker shocked the audiences after his sending off during a 2-2 tie against Torino by swearing vai in culo! (f*** you) and throwing his shirt at the refree. Not content on the field, he proceeded to wait in the tunnel for the official threatning the poor fella with old school beating. For his antics, Cassano was slapped with a skimpy 5 match band and fined a measley €11,000.

Currently dating 17 yr old water polo star Carolina Marcialis, Cassano admits he has found solace at  Sampdoria and is in theraphy for his rage amongst other things  – um.. maybe like dating a 17 yr old? Needless to say, the 26 yr old’s life is anything but predictable.

Cassano opens up about his struggles in Dico Tutto but he does his best to avoid the more important parts of his life like his lack of respect for his peers but instead is more apt to share life’s pressing issues , sex  and food.

Four girlfriends in 11 years is a low number… I had a few other adventures. Let’s say that between the 600 and 700 women I’ve been with, around 20 were from the show business worldMany times I played great games right after having sex. In Madrid it was even easier, because we were in a hotel, the whole squad and staff on one floor, so on the floors above or below you could invite whoever you wanted to meet you during the night. I made friends with one of the waiters. His job was to bring me 3 or 4 cornetti after I had sex. He would bring the cornetti to the stairs and we would make a trade – he took the girl, I stuffed myself with cornetti. Sex plus food, the perfect night“.

Oh Antonio!

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  1. dave stopher 14 January, 2009
  2. nisu 10 August, 2010