Antonio Cassano has lashed out at Inter Milan head coach Walter Mazzarri during his first press conference as a Parma player.
Parma confirmed the signing of Cassano on Thursday and the 30-year-old striker, who has been notoriously volatile throughout his career, did not take long to make waves as he discussed his departure from Inter Milan.
Cassano claimed Mazzarri, who was brought in to replace Andrea Stramaccioni as Inter Milan head coach on May 24, had promised him a starting position but after signing a contract, the ex-Napoli boss told the striker to leave.
“I’d like to thank (Inter sporting director Marco) Branca, (director Piero) Ausilio and (president Massimo) Moratti, but not Mazzarri,” Cassano said.
“Before agreeing to take over at the club he called me and told me that I’d be an automatic starter this season with him.
“Then, after he’d signed his contract, he said that I would be an automatic choice but to be on the first bus home.
“I wasn’t part of his plans.”
Mazzarri responded almost immediately, releasing a statement on Inter’s website, which refuted Cassano’s claims.
“I haven’t spoken to or about the players since then because I was waiting for the start of the season,” Mazzarri said in the statement.
“I don’t see how I can have decided who my first-choice players and squad players are before I’ve even had the chance to coach them.
“I’d like to put on record that the last time I spoke to Cassano was at the Inter v Napoli match in the first half of last season.
“On that occasion I just said hello to him on the pitch.”
Cassano refused to make any comment about Stramaccioni but added he had ‘a fantastic relationship with the players’ at Inter.
Parma will be Cassano’s third club in three seasons after stints at AC Milan and Inter Milan and the seventh of his career but the Bari-born forward said he still has plenty to give in Serie A if Parma’s head coach Roberto Donadoni backs him completely.
“Lots of top-level players have played here,” Cassano said.
“I’m not here to put my feet up and have a holiday.
“The more responsibility I’m given the better I react and the more I give.
“When I’m made to feel useless, then I create havoc.
“If I play as Cassano can play, then everyone will benefit.”