I wanted to translate this recent article from Antonio Cassano. “Why?” you might ask; after all, he never won a thing with or for Roma. In fact, he “stopped” Roma from winning a Scudetto on the last matchday against Sampdoria. Well, Fantantonio is quite an interesting figure in Italian football, between the excessive talent (some feel wasted talent), the 500+ women he claims to have slept with, the pink Ferrari, and the constant controversy with managers and club presidents.
Distant from that though. Cassano was one of my idols growing up. I even wore #18 when #10 was taken. Now I take #99, which coincidentally, was/is also his number for Sampdoria. But aside from my fanboy-itis who comes from the same neck-of-the-woods as I, there is more to him: a street baller who grew up on the streets of Bari’s poverty-stricken San Nicola district, he used to bet on himself to win football matches in order to make money. A son with an absent father, Cassano’s mother raised him all by herself. Yes, a man chooses his own destiny, and is accountable for every action he makes as an adult. But, something must be said for a lack of role models, a lack of direction, and an uphill upbringing.
In an interview with Spanish paper “AS,” Cassano stated the following:
How do you remember the move to Real?
Spalletti’s Roma wanted me gone, and Bronzetti gave me a call: “Antonio, go to the greatest team in the world.”I replied, “What is the greatest team in the world?” He answered, “Real Madrid.” Then I remaked, “Ernesto, don’t take me for an (expletive). Then he came to my home and handed me the phone to Florentino…
“Well I couldn’t say no to Real Madrid. Who didn’t want to play there… Zidane, Figo, Raul, Beckham, Gouti, Roberto Carlos, Casillas.
One thing to tell?
On the eve of the 4-0 win against Juventus, I stole the keys to Trigoria and didn’t come back until six. It was my best night as a player. I drew a penalty and scored two goals!
He has made many sacrifices, he’s a fantastic person. I lived with him for six months right after I signed for Roma. My dream was to play there because of people like him.
How long did you live with Totti?
Six months, then my mother came to live with my cousin.
You and Totti had a fight; what happened?
For lack of respect, he stopped talking to me for two years.
I’m not going to bore you with a long introduction telling you about Stephen El Shaarawy’s past; that he had a great 2012/13 season at Milan, scoring 18 and assisting six times, and then fell-off once Balotelli started alongside him. Or that Milan’s joke-of-a-managment sold him because of recurring injuries, or that his time at Monaco wasn’t fruitful, even though he regained his health.
What I do want to tell you that the Italian Pharaoh is here, he has set ablaze, as hungry as the wolf to score a goal, become important in this team, fight for trophies, and reclaim his spot on the national team. It’s two games for him now and two goals.
The first one was a magic heel that sent Roma up 2-1 over Frosinone, setting the pace for Luciano Spalletti to grab his first win in his second Roma-tenure. Roma went onto win 3-1; an important piece of momentum, a glorious kick; his first shot for Roma was his first goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sqQ3eEN440
Tonight’s (2/2/2016) match was a bit of a different story for Roma though. Much less comfortable after De Rossi’s substitution at 42′, Stephen was pegged a bit back, taking defensive responsibility. Even so, he has now averaged 3.5 shots per match. A perfect outlet.
No matter how oppressed Roma seemed tonight, Stephen didn’t give up. He was rewarded in the 94′, after a fantastic repossession , and run down the sideline by Perotti. This is a sign of good things to come; a new-look Roma with a new coach, new formation, and new attack is exactly what the doctor ordered. If Strootman can get back to full-fitness and the boys keep it up, this team is capable of… many great things (Jeremy Clarkson’s voice).
— Wayne Girard (@WayneinRome) February 2, 2016