Can Cassano finally fulfil potential as Parma move beckons
Recent reports from Italy suggest that international striker Antonio Cassano could be on his way to Parma as part of the deal to take Ishak Belfodil to Inter Milan.
Cassano has enjoyed a storied career primarily across Italy with a stop off in Spain with Real Madrid along the way, and has represented his native Italy 35 times, netting 10 goals for the Azurri.
But has he enjoyed such a glittering career as he seemed to be promising when he rose to prominence in the fledgling days of his career, first with Bari and then Roma?
During his five year stay at the latter, Cassano seemed to be enjoying a reputation as a particularly well known player, promising a glittering future football. But since he departed for Real Madrid in 2006, some have aired their belief that he has failed to live up to his early potential, drifting between clubs in Italy every season or two.
So is this potential new destination at the Tardini something which may rejuvenate the 30-year-old’s fortunes? If the anticipation in the north of Italy is anything to go by, it would seem that the Crusaders are more than keen to give him the opportunity, calling him a “gift” from the football club to the town.
“We want to give Antonio Cassano to the city,” said Parma director Pietro Leonardi, who was keen to voice his desire to see the former Sampdoria loanee pull on the yellow and blue of Parma.
“I consider Cassano to be an absolute talent and always wanted to work with him,” he continued. “I don’t think age is relevant. Just ask Udinese whether they think Antonio Di Natale is too old.”
When Cassano came to leave Real Madrid, he signed for Sampdoria – the club where he had spent the previous season on loan – on a permanent basis. He became the club’s vice-captain, and took the armband on more than one occasion in the absence of full-time skipper Angelo Palombo.
However, at Christmas 2010 a deal was struck to take Cassano to Milan, with €5m being owed to Real Madrid as part of his buyout clause when he departed the Spaniards. Ultimately, Sampdoria paid the €5m to Real, with Milan paying €3.3m to Sampdoria, with Cassano taking a wage cut as well.
In 2012, Cassano left Milan after reportedly being upset with the sale of many of the club’s star players, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva. He joined city (and indeed stadium) rivals Inter, where he currently remains.
Parma want to give him a chance to revitalise his football, and with something of a nomadic existence since ending his five-year Roma stay in 2006, Parma fans will hope that he can make himself at home in his new surroundings and fire the club firmly back into the top half of Serie A, having finished 10th last season.