Antonio Cassano got into a fight with Inter Milan head coach Andrea Stramaccioni. This is the kind of stuff he does.
The 30-year-old Italian international has had contentious departures from Roma, Real Madrid, and Sampdoria, and now he’s becoming a hornet’s nest for the Nerazzurri. It’s all part of the bargain.
According to reports out of Italy, Cassano and his Inter boss nearly came to blows after Friday’s training session. Midfielder Dejan Stankovic and team manager Ivan Cordoba separated the two before the confrontation climaxed.
The young head coach confirmed the news on Saturday, albeit in muted words:
There was no physical contact, it was just a discussion. It annoys me that it was reported outside the training ground, as these things should stay behind closed doors. Antonio is one of the players I have used the most.
He won’t be using him on Sunday. Stramaccioni confirmed he has decided to drop Cassano for the team’s trip to Catania. The playmaker will, however, be back in the team mid-week:
Cassano will be called up for the Europa League game with Tottenham next week. This is my decision and he is not being punished, nor frozen out. Fredy Guarin and Ricky Alvarez are crucial to cover the gaps at the moment.
For Stramaccioni, a 37-year-old in his first full year on the job, the dressing room confrontation was less noteworthy than the fact news of it got out:
Leaving Cassano out was my decision. It happened in the locker room and we shouldn’t make a big deal of it. Whoever leaked this story outside clearly does not want what’s best for Inter. The locker room is sacred.
Not sacred enough to avoid going after your coach, but as Stramaccioni initmated, this is not the first time a player and coach have almost come to blows.
And it’s not the first time Cassano’s famously bad temper has gotten the best of him. Inter knew what they were acquiring when they traded Giampaolo Pazzini to get him last summer.
No use excoriating either party. Not that Cassano doesn’t deserve some censure. It just won’t do any good.