Milan (AFP) – Veteran former Real Madrid and AC Milan forward Antonio Cassano on Saturday announced his retirement for the third time just days after the ex-Italian international returned to training.

“The day has come, the day when you decide it really is over,” said Cassano, who had returned to training with Serie C side Virtus Entella last Monday.

“Over the last few days of training, I realised that I no longer have the mentality to train consistently,” said Cassano, whose last competitive match was for Sampdoria in May 2016.

“In order to play football, you need passion and talent, but above all determination and at this moment I have other priorities.”

The 36-year-old Cassano — who played for Roma, Real Madrid and both Milan clubs during his career — had first announced he was retiring just a week after signing for Hellas Verona in July 2017.

But he did a swift u-turn saying he wanted to stay with the Verona club for the season, before again calling time after playing two-pre-season friendlies.

“Now the second half of my life begins, I am curious and fired up to prove first of all to myself that I can do good things even without the help of my feet,” added Cassano.

Entella president Antonio Gozzi thanked Cassano for “offering (his) help in the most difficult time (for) Entella.”

The club from outside Genoa were relegated from the second-tier Serie B after the play-offs last season, but they have played just one Serie C game this season, due to an ongoing dispute over which division they should be playing in.

“I knew it would be a difficult bet to win but it was right to try,” Gozzi told Cassano.

“For a week our and your dream have flanked reality and the whole world talked about us.”

Cassano won 39 caps for Italy between 2003 and 2014. He won a Liga title with Real Madrid and Serie A with AC Milan.