Antonio Cassano has left Hellas Verona but says he will not retire from football in the latest twist to his remarkable short spell at the club.
The former Real Madrid forward signed for the Serie A side on July 10 but told club officials that he would be retiring just eight days later, only to reverse that decision within a matter of hours.
Cassano dismissed the incident as “a moment of weakness” after saying he had found it difficult to spend pre-season training away from his family.
The 35-year-old promised fans he would commit fully to the club for the 2017-18 season but he has now confirmed that he will leave as he no longer feels “stimulated to continue”.
“I’m not going to leave football, I simply don’t feel I can continue with Hellas Verona…” Cassano said in a statement that was tweeted by his wife, Carolina Marcialis.
“Physically I’m really good, as I’ve shown in the last 15 days of training, but mentally I don’t feel stimulated to continue at this club!
“I thank president [Maurizio] Setti from my heart… the [director of sport Filippo] Fusco, [head coach Fabio] Pecchia and the squad for accepting me!”
— CarolinaMarcialis (@chriscarol99) July 24, 2017
Setti later confirmed to ANSA that Cassano had struggled to settle mentally at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi.
“The guy’s head isn’t right, even though he’s very good physically and athletically,” he said.
“You can’t accuse him of doing anything wrong professionally. It’s clear that he can’t stay calm and clear-headed in a group and wants to stay at home.
“There is an ‘up and down’ with him; he talks and then he’s silent. It’s a shame because he was doing everything well professionally.”
Reports in Italy suggest Cassano could now join Genoa, having held talks with the club before moving to Verona.
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