ROME – Italian forward Antonio Cassano, who had played for Real Madrid, Roma and both Milan teams, announced his retirement from soccer at age 36 on Saturday, asserting that he has no regrets at the end of a professional career that was at times plagued by his unprofessional behavior.
The Italy international, who was fined in 2012 by UEFA for homophobic press remarks, said he realized he no longer has the motivation to keep up a continuous training regimen after taking a one-week test to join third-tier Italian league team Virtus Entella.
“Dear friends, the day has come, when you decide it is really over,” Cassano said in a letter published on Twitter by his close friend, the Italian journalist Pierluigi Pardo.
Cassano explained “Over the last few days of training, I realized I no longer have the mentality to train consistently. In order to play football, you need passion and talent, but above all determination, and at this moment I have other priorities.”
“I know that if I had a different character I could have won more trophies and played better, but believe me, I’ve also experienced incredible emotions,” he added.
He thanked Virtus Entella, its president and players for the trial opportunity, and expressed his gratitude to “all the friends and teammates I worked with over the years, the opponents, the coaches and directors,” adding “Yes, even those I had arguments with.”
Capped 39 times by Italy, Cassano also claimed the La Liga title with Real Madrid (2006-2007), the Serie A title with Milan (2010-2011), and two Italian Super Cup wins with Roma (2000-2001) and Milan (2010-2011).