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…

 

So?

“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!

 

Totti?

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.