The saga that has surrounded Antonio Cassano for the past two weeks has confounded many but Cesare Prandelli praised the veteran striker for his handling of the situation.
On July 10, Cassano signed for Verona on a free transfer following the termination of his Sampdoria contract in January.
Eight days later he told club officials he planned to retire with immediate effect, only to reverse his decision within a few hours.
However, after another week with the Gialloblu he announced he was leaving the club but not retiring, before a third U-turn as he confirmed he was hanging up his boots.
His behaviour dumbfounded Verona president Maurizio Setti but Prandelli – who coached Cassano at Roma and with Italy – believes the 35-year-old’s actions showed great respect and should be applauded.
“I think this was a very honest decision, worthy of what I’ve always thought of this lad,” Prandelli told La Repubblica.
“Antonio has important values, he’s strongly attached to his family. In taking a decision like this, I’m convinced he had respect for all of us: the Verona fans, the city, but also the president and the club.
“He didn’t want to stay in a place without having the right soul to be there, the right motivation.
“I’m convinced that this was a bold, but very dignified decision at the same time. He must be given a big round of applause.
“This is the balanced choice of a mature man who is aware of his priorities at 35.
“I’m disappointed because I think he could have still done important things, I’m disappointed for the Verona fans but also all fans of this sport.
“We know his history, we know what he’s capable of with the ball at his feet.
“Antonio says he can’t stay without his family, and he preferred to give up money to be close to his wife Carolina and his kids.
“It’s a choice which, I repeat, shows great maturity and shows the value of the person.”
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