Back in the nominations for the European footballer of the year from 2000.

Twelve years ago, Antonio Cassano was abeyant by Real Madrid for calling Fabio Capello “faker than Monopoly money”. Fair play to him.

The average of autumn is a active time for celebrations. In the amplitude of a week, you accept to argue with both Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night, action your two cents on ‘the James McClean situation’, and frown dismissively at anyone still demography allotment in Movember. (Why not cascade a brazier of ice baptize on your arch while you’re at it, pal?)

But while all these things can be tiresome, one melancholia ceremony consistently brings acceptable cheer: not the U.S. midterms, but the ceremony of Antonio Cassano getting abeyant by Real Madrid.

Yes, even aural a career arranged abounding of absurdities, the adventure of Antonio Cassano calumniating administrator Fabio Capello (and afterwards accomplishing an aspersing consequence of him) charcoal amusing.

Maybe it’s because, in the admirable arrangement of things, the blithely comedic transgressions don’t assume to accreditation a astringent punishment. Or maybe it’s because Capello did such an underwhelming job in England, authoritative a assortment of the accent and reinstating John Terry as captain.

Either way, Cassano calling Capello “faker than Monopoly money” is both a acceptable affair and a affair account remembering.


Over about two decades in football, Italian advanced Antonio Cassano played for abounding clubs, denticulate a fair few goals and — chiefly — did a lot of brainless things.

It would be abortive to try and certificate all of them.

Fortunately, his affairs is neatly illustrated by one accurate chestnut from his time in Madrid, area he played amid January 2006 and August 2007.

At the time, he was active in a hotel.

“I fabricated accompany with one of the waiters,” Cassano wrote in his autobiography. “His job was to accompany me three or four cornetti afterwards I had sex.”

That’s three or four Italian croissants, to the uninitiated.

“He would accompany the cornetti to the stairs, I would accompany the babe and we would accomplish a trade: he took the girl; I blimp myself with cornetti.

“Sex additional aliment — the absolute night!”

At the time, the pastry-loving Cassano claimed to accept slept with over 600 women.

Food would prove to be a afraid point throughout Cassano’s spell at Madrid. Afterwards abutting for a bargain £5million in January 2006, the Italian anon began to overindulge in cornetti and added treats.

Toward the end of the 2006-07 season, the club began giving him approved fines, the ethics of which were anon proportional to his accretion weight.

“I’m blessed if I eat pasta, bread, sweets and ham,” Cassano accepted in 2016. “I’m absorbed to food, even now.”


But the forward’s better affray with Madrid, which happened on October 28, 2006, didn’t accept annihilation to do with food.

It was then, during an abroad bold adjoin Gimnàstic, that Cassano addled his lid with Capello, who had instructed him to balmy up on the touchline… for the absolute additional half.

After lambasting Capello for not bringing him on, Cassano alleged the administrator “faker than Monopoly money”.

It didn’t go down able-bodied with the club.

A bleak Madrid alleged it “an act of ataxia assuming a abridgement of account to the coach”, while Capello anon abandoned Cassano and fabricated him alternation alone.

Unfortunately for the accomplished forward, the administrator was backed by goody-two-shoes captain Raúl, who reminded his team-mates to “work harder for one another, be humble, plan to the aforementioned cold and be acquainted that we are at a abundant club”.

Less than two months later, afore a bout adjoin Espanyol, Cassano fabricated things worse for himself by accomplishing an consequence of the angry Capello.

The amused admirers included Ronaldo, Fabio Cannavaro, Mahamadou Diarra and, abominably for the performer, a television camera.

Cassano didn’t affection in the alliance amid October 14 and February 25.


Although Capello was the agitator for Cassano’s Real Madrid banishment and closing departure, the drillmaster did pay his striker — already the a lot of big-ticket jailbait in football — a assertive affectionate of compliment.

To call acts of footballing petulance, Capello bound a new word, ‘Cassanata’, which would chase Cassano about until his retirement.

Actually, accomplish that retirements.

In July 2017, over the amplitude of beneath than two weeks, 34-year-old Cassano active for Verona, anon retired, backtracked and vowed to play on, again assuredly accepted he would be backward afterwards all.

He afterwards said there was “no spark” in Verona.

“It’s like if you’re seeing a woman and she no best attracts you, so you leave,” he explained — a absolute affinity defective annihilation but a pastry reference.

He about alternate again: just a few weeks ago, the now 36-year-old teased a comeback, adage he would be training with a Serie C club.

It didn’t pan out, however, and the ex-player put out a diffuse account answer — strangely, back anybody anticipation he was retired anyhow — that he was absolutely retiring.

“Over the endure few canicule of training, I realised that I no best accept the mentality to alternation consistently,” he said. “In adjustment to play football, you charge affection and aptitude but aloft all determination, and at this moment I accept added priorities.”

A footballer who prioritises sex and croissants over training? God knows the bold needs added of those.

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