Antonio Cassano says joining Real Madrid was the biggest mistake of his career
What’s the story?
Antonio Cassano has revealed that he regrets leaving AS Roma and joining Real Madrid in 2006. He signed for Los Blancos in January 2006 for a mere €5 million but managed to make just 19 appearances for the La Liga giants during his one-and-a-half-year spell at Santiago Bernabeu.
“My biggest mistake was the year and a half at Real Madrid because I did everything and more to ruin it. That is a huge regret,” said Cassano while speaking to Corriere Dello Sport.
The Italian believes he should have listed to Francesco Totti and remained at Roma. Recalling the incident where Totti advised him, Cassano said “We were dealing with the renewal of my contract, and he said to me: 'Remember, it is better to earn less but be happy than to go somewhere else in the world and not be 100% sure'. I went to Madrid, and after a year and a half, I was away.”
However, in the end, he was lured away by Madrid. “I was seduced by their offer. If I had listened to Totti, I probably would’ve stayed at Roma for 10-15 years along with him. That was the advice he gave me, and I had to listen. But I did my usual, and it went instinctively to my head.” said the former Madrid player.
In case you didn’t know...
Cassano became the second Italian player ever to sign for Real Madrid after Christian Panucci when he joined them in 2006. He debuted against Real Betis and scored within three minutes!
However, things went downhill from then as the striker had poor eating habits and eventually began gaining weight. Madrid started fining him for every gram he remained over his playing weight, and that earned him the nickname "Gordito."
The heart of the matter
Cassano's weight gain was just the beginning of his problems at Bernabeu. He was not able to get into the starting XI as Raul and Ronaldo were preferred ahead of him.
Los Blancos then suspended him for disrespecting manager, Fabio Capello. The duo had an argument in the dressing room after the striker was not selected to play a game against Gimnàstic de Tarragona.
He got benched eventually, and then injuries kept him out of the squad. He was loaned out to Sampdoria for the 2007/08 season which was made permanent after the season ended.
Moving to Real Madrid when they had the likes of Raul and Ronaldo in the squad was an atrocious decision. Had he stayed at Romo, he might have become a club great like Totti and the duo might have gone on to become one of the best striking partners of all time.