Antonio Cassano (Italian pronunciation: [anˈtɔnjo kasˈsano]; born 12 July 1982) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a forward; he is currently a free agent, having last played for Sampdoria. A talented and technically gifted player, he is usually deployed in a creative role, as a supporting forward, although he can also play in more of a playmaking role, as an attacking midfielder, as well as on the wing, or as a striker. Nicknamed Il Gioiello di Bari Vecchia ("the jewel of Old Bari"), and Fantantonio ("fantastic Antonio"), he is known for his short temper as much as his skill and ability on the pitch, which led to the coining of the neologism Cassanata by his former Roma and Real Madrid coach, Fabio Capello, in November 2002, due to their disputes over his actions. The word is regularly used by Italian journalists as a euphemism for any behavior incompatible with team spirit in football.
Cassano began his professional club career with hometown club Bari, where he made a reputation for himself as one of the most promising, yet troublesome young players in Italy; his talent and performances earned him a transfer to defending Serie A champions Roma in 2001, where he immediately won the Supercoppa Italiana, and was named Serie A Young Footballer of the Year in 2001 and 2003. In 2006, he moved to La Liga club Real Madrid, where he gained further notoriety for his poor behaviour, inconsistent performances, and poor work-rate. After an unsuccessful spell in the Spanish capital, he returned to Italy in 2007, and was sent on loan to Sampdoria, where he refound his form playing alongside Giampaolo Pazzini, and was subsequently signed by the club on a permanent basis. In 2011, he was acquired by Milan, where he won his first Serie A title and his second Supercoppa Italiana, and remained at the club until 2012, when he transferred to cross-city rivals Inter Milan for a season. He later spent two seasons at Parma, before terminating his contract in January 2015, due to the club's financial difficulties; later that year, he returned to Sampdoria for the following season although his contract with the club was terminated in 2017.
At international level, Cassano has represented the Italy national football team on 39 occasions, scoring 10 goals; he took part at three UEFA European Championships, and one FIFA World Cup, winning a runners-up medal at UEFA Euro 2012. Along with Mario Balotelli, he is Italy's top-scorer in the UEFA European Championships, with three goals.Close