SPORT

Cassano in dramatic Verona retirement U-turn

CASSANO IN DRAMATIC VERONA RETIREMENT U-TURN

Former Italy international striker Antonio Cassano pulled a remarkable about-turn on Tuesday, backtracking on his decision to retire just hours after breaking the news to his Verona team-mates.

"This morning I had a moment of weakness, I had a meeting with (head coach) Fabio Pecchia and the others to say that I wanted to stop," the 35-year-old Cassano told reporters.

"I was yearning for my family but the club's management has asked them to come and they gave me the strength to carry on.

"My wife told me, 'the kids and myself can't not watch you play'. That will give me strength that I haven't had in 18 years. I want to rise to the challenge and have a crazy season," he added.

Cassano, who hasn't played since his release from Sampdoria in January, joined Verona just last week after the club secured promotion back to Serie A.

He first came to prominence with Roma before spells with Real Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan, and scored 10 goals in 39 international appearances.

Cassano was diagnosed with an atrial septal defect in his heart and underwent an operation under local anaesthetic in November 2011 which allowed him to continue his career.

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