Following intense speculation the last few days regarding the future of talented forward Antonio Cassano, it has been confirmed the player will remain in Genoa despite the lingering issues with Sampdoria Coach Luigi Del Neri.
Cassano started the season in fine form but gradually faded away as the club began to struggle to achieve results. Del Neri took the decision to bench him the last two matches and Sampdoria have won both. The situation between Del Neri and the player apparently deteriorated to the extent the Italian Press claimed Cassano will be undergoing a medical in Florence to join Fiorentina.
With all reports claiming Cassano was on the verge of moving away from Genoa and joining la Viola in a loan deal till the remainder of the season, the unpredictable forward confirmed he will not leave Sampdoria. The former Azzurri forward (Cassano has not and will unlikely get called up by Marcello Lippi for the World Cup) admitted he carefully considered Fiorentina’s offer and the opportunity to play for a club still in the Champions League but he opted to reject the move as he chose to show his gratitude to the fans, the city of Genoa and club president Riccardo Garrone.
La Viola Coach Cesare Prandelli expressed his disappointment at not having secured the services of the volatile but highly skilled forward who can create and score goals. It remains to be seen whether Cassano’s decision will backfire as Del Neri has made it clear the situation is not ideal and he would have preferred the player’s departure. More significantly Cassano has wasted the opportunity to perform in the Champions League as la Viola will be matched up against Bayern Munich in the Round of 16.
Working under the charismatic Prandelli would have perhaps provided Antonio with the ideal situation to shine and prove his worth to Marcello Lippi (again it is doubtful Lippi would call him up even if he performed well) but even more importantly Prandelli is renowned for reviving the careers of certain players. Prandelli has helped resurrect the career of striker Alberto Gilardino who had an unconvincing spell with Milan which threatened to derail his rise as a reliable goal scorer. Prandelli has worked with troubled forward Adrian Mutu and despite the recent doping situation the Romanian has done fairly well in Florence.
Prandelli is also good at nurturing young and upcoming talent as evident in the case of Montenegrin sensation Stevan Jovetic. Regardless of the opportunity in Florence, Cassano apparently believes in fighting for his place with Sampdoria and only time will tell whether this was another ill-advised move by the troubled forward. Very few can doubt his talent but it is common knowledge Cassano has not lived up to his potential as a result of his erratic behaviour. Will this decision to overlook the opportunity to play in Europe come back to haunt Cassano and highlight another misstep in his unstable career?