Cassano: "When I was off my head…"

APPIANO GENTILE – Antonio Cassano under the spotlight, with the whole stage for himself. Talking about himself, how he came to realise his Inter dream and more besides. He admitted that president Massimo Moratti has given him a few words of advice: “Yes, he’s made a few suggestions. He likes me, the president has always had a soft spot for me, from the days when Mancini was around, but I was a nutter back then so he did the right thing not to sign me. I was off my head then but I’ve calmed down now. The president hugged me the other day, I’m happy, that was a nice gesture.”

Cassano was then asked to explain how the swap deal with Pazzini came about so quickly. “You think it came about quickly. These gentlemen here [indicating Branca and Ausilio] were working on it for quite some time. They told me to keep it under my hat – if you chat too much you can end up doing nothing.”

The new Nerazzurri striker was asked about his relationship with Andrea Stramaccioni and the coach’s famous take-off of him: “I’ve known the boss since he was coaching the kids at Roma. He likes flair players. I’ve told him I’m going to show him only the genius in me, not my wild side [grinning]. Everyone has had good things to say about Stramaccioni and now I can say the same ? with my own voice, not that voice he put on to do his imitation of me!”

Antonio went on to talk about how his life has changed since he overcome his health problems. “When you get to that point you see life differently, that’s what happens when your life is in the balance. Now I’m thankful for even the smallest things. I think about my son, my wife, but I don’t really want to go into it too much. I suffered immensely.”

Back on the topic of the ‘old’ Cassano: “Of course I used to make mistakes, lots of mistakes, perhaps I’ll keep making mistakes but not so often. Now I’m dealing with people who talk straight. Marco and Piero said to me, ‘This is how things stand, if that’s ok with you, good, if not, go elsewhere.’ In other places there was a person who would only talk to those who approached him, not me. Which party has got the better deal out of this swap? Inter – who else would get the good deal? Inter.”

Why all this bitterness from Cassano? “Am I saying these things because Galliani talked about a contract extension and then nothing came of it? There was talk of one… it was just talk though… But you should ask him, he’s good at twisting things round to suit him. Some people only get on well with those who lick their… It was always ‘tomorrow, tomorrow…’ And then two of my friends left Milan. So first there were the promises never maintained, and then Thiago and Ibra, two players that you just can’t replace, left the club. I’d been in contact with the coach during the Euros, I texted him and he sent my messages to Galliani… The fact is that the coach saw me as one of the lowest cards in his pack, I was the 5th, 6th, 7th choice striker. He said he couldn’t promise me anything. The atmosphere wasn’t good, I needed a change.”

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