Straight from the dark heart of Italy
There was little doubt that Antonio Cassano would duck out of his return to the Olympic stadium.
There were hints of it on Saturday evening at home to Siena as he put on his wobbly Charlie Chaplin walk after being substituted.
The official reason coming out of the Sampdoria camp is that the 25-year-old has a bad back although it didn’t stop him from travelling to the capital for the Italian Cup tie on Tuesday evening.
In other words, what they really meant was that he had cried off from facing one of the most hostile receptions in the Eternal City since the Visgoths turned up for a bit of rape and pillaging back in the day.
The Bari bad-boy kicked up such a stink at missing out on the league game in December due to suspension that you began to wonder if the lady doth protest too much.
Could a person with such a fragile temperament survive 90 minutes of unrelenting abuse – and that’s not just from Christian Panucci’s size 43s?
How would he explain to Francesco Totti why he had spent the last two years slagging-off his former ‘good’ friend?
Admired but never loved by the Romans, once hailed as the future of Italian football, now reduced to knocking in goals against the likes of Siena and Palermo, it’s just one more act in what is becoming the Cassano side-show.
It’s hardly worth the entrance fee.
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