If Antonio Cassano retires from football after his sensational exit from Parma then it would be a sad way for one of the beautiful game’s most colourful characters to bow out.
This is a player who, aside from having the Diego Costa knack of being able to start a fight in an empty room, has been a rather gracious servant to Serie A over the years. A bit like Mario Balotelli, but with a hunger the Liverpool forward has never hinted at possessing.
There are even whispers of a stunning move to Juventus for one last swan-song. And what a fitting way an imminent Scudetto triumph would be to compound the career of a player whose entertainment value has always remained intact and whose antics will put him down into the folklore of Italian football.
Parma are a club in a crisis, and the departure of their maverick talisman will come as another blow to their hopes of avoiding relegation. They are currently rooted to the bottom of the table, with the light at the end of the tunnel still impossible to see.
Unpaid wages was reportedly the reason for Cassano’s exit. Fed up with not being paid, the Italian forward confronted the club hierarchy over the matter. And then he was no more. Just another name to have worn the famous jersey over the years. Axed, and catapulted out of the stadium. Game over.
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What next for him remains unclear. He has made it quite clear that there will be no final payday in the MLS, and retirement remains very high on the agenda. But if Juventus come calling, things could change…
Not content with already possessing Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Morata, Massimiliano Allegri may intervene to bring the 32-year-old to Turin in order to ensure they win a fourth consecutive Scudetto come the end of the season in May.
The club are in the market for a fourth forward after sanctioning the sale of ex-Parma forward Sebastian Giovinco to Toronto. Though not a long-term option, bringing a forward who has enjoyed spells at some of the finest clubs in the country would provide added experience within the dressing room.
There is also the matter of Tevez’s own future. The Argentine is reportedly reluctant to sign a contract extension, and harbours hope of a return to his homeland with first flame Boca Juniors. Whether or not he leaves the club remains to be seen.
Bad boys very rarely get happy endings but for Cassano a short stint at the current champions and league leaders could give him exactly that. A winners medals could be the final gift from Serie A to one of its most controversial characters.