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Antonio Cassano backtracks on retirement talk

Antonio Cassano says he may not retire after all
Image: Antonio Cassano says he may not retire after all

After appearing to retire twice in the space of a week, Antonio Cassano says he is ready to play again.

The former Italy forward, now 35, left newly-promoted Serie A club Verona last week after expressing a desire to retire from football for family reasons.

On that basis, Verona allowed Cassano to rescind his contract despite only being there for three weeks, but now he appears to have different ideas.

The Bari-born player told La Stampa: "Hellas Verona did not spark any spark in me, I knew that immediately. It's like being with a woman and then realising she doesn't want to spend time with you.

"It was a question of feeling, of atmosphere. I told president (Maurizio) Setti, director of sport (Filippo) Fusco and the boss, (Fabio) Pecchia, as much. I thought it was best to leave and not drag things out."

Cassano, the former Roma and Real Madrid forward, insists he never said he was planning to retire.

When asked about reported interest from Serie B outfit Virtus Entella, he said: "When I spoke to Verona I never said, 'I am retiring'. I challenge anyone to prove the opposite is true.

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"I offered to pay the compensation myself if I find another team.

"Of course I want to play on, I have more than one idea, but no offers. Entella? That would be a great challenge, attempting to win promotion to Serie A.

"If anyone wants me, call me, I don't have any agents. The deadline is September, after that I'll just stay at home."

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