How Former Roma and Real Madrid Forward, Antonio Cassano, Went From Starvation to Wealth and Fame.
The year was 1999, Bari were up against Serie-A giants Inter Milan in a league game, when a little known teenager picked up the ball from over 40-yards out, broke through the Nerazzurri’s defense, rounded the goalkeeper, and slotted home to give Biancorossi a historic 2-1 victory over the blue and blacks.
Antonio Cassano was 17 at the time; young, very promising, troublesome, yet, ruthless with the ball at his feet, just the sort of kid Europe’s big boys would kill for.
Of course, it didn’t take long, Italian champions Roma, came calling in 2001, and the youngster’s life changed forever. But behind all that inspirational story, was the struggle of a Bari teenager and his selfless mother
After his days with the Giallorossi, the Bari sensation went on to represent the likes of Real Madrid, Milan, Inter Milan, Sampdoria and Verona before announcing his retirement in the final months of 2017.
Fantantonio had quite a controversial career, mixed with outbursts and fines, but one period in particular remains stuck on him; the years of struggle with his beloved mother, when starvation ran the show like Zidane dictated play in the middle of the park
The 35-year-old was with retired French midfielder Olivier Dacourt when he narrated his ordeal on Canal Football Club.
“For 17 years, I knew what it was like to starve. Really,”
“My mother was a cleaner, and with the little money she earned, we’d eat on 3,000-4,000 lire [between €1-2].
“My mother made so many sacrifices. She never went to school and doesn’t speak Italian well.
“I played on the streets, in the alleyways. I’d play for whoever gave me the most money. That 4,000-5,000 [between €2-3] was used to help the family.