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A juxtaposition of Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli

Posted By Allan Jiang On Nov 10 2010 @ 6:19 am In Soccer | 2 Comments

John Wooden, perhaps the greatest sports manager of the past century, once said a player who makes a team great is much more valuable than a great player. This notion of being a team player is not in the rationale of Italian footballers, Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli. Two cassanatas who are selfish and have an inability to be selfless for the sake of the team. Two immensely talented footballers who are once again contemplating and regretting their actions of late. Cassano staring down the barrel of having his contract terminated whilst Balotelli mulls over his red card which will leave him suspended against Manchester United.

Cassano’s problem stems from a bust up with Sampdoria president Riccardo Garrone who has stated he is not ready to forgive Cassano. This isn’t the first time he has been involved in hostile showdowns with his employer, it happened at Roma, Real Madrid and now Sampdoria. So it’s fitting the term cassanata was coined after Cassano to describe when a player values himself over the team thus disrupting team unity. Why do you think Cassano has been consistently frozen out of the Italian national football team? His selfishness cost him a World Cup medal and for a player that at 19 years of age garnered a transfer fee of €30 million, his cassanata behaviour has left one of the most unfulfilled careers since Álvaro Recoba. What perhaps is more sad is that having settled down with his wife, Carolina Marcialis at Sampdoria, Cassano may be forced to find a new club.

At 20 years of age, 6 ft 3, quick, strong and with immaculate technique, you’d think that Balotelli would be a bona fide future FIFA Ballon d’Or winner but there are doubts over his ability to be a world class player let alone winning such a prestigious award. Balotelli’s persona is exactly like Cassano, both are impulsive, both have attitude issues and both are cassanatas. Balotelli only needs to look up to Samuel Eto’o who was so selfless, playing as an auxiliary wingback with Inter during their treble winning season. Here was a two time Champions League winning forward sacrificing his statistics for the team. Perhaps what irked Mourinho the most was that for a player who put no strenuous effort into defending, Balotelli somehow still committed 176 fouls, accumulated 20 yellow cards and a red card in just 76 games for Inter Milan. Then you factor in wearing an A.C Milan shirt on national television, refusing to defend, training halfheartedly, getting into arguments with his teammates, throwing his Inter Milan shirt away in anger and you get the picture that like Cassano, Balotelli’s greatest barrier to success may be himself.

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