Bare-chested, cut lip, Cassano loses the plot

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It was a case of the Good, the Mad and the downright Ugly over the Serie A weekend.

And Antonio Cassano provided all three in equal measure.

It was Fabio Capello who coined the term cassanata – Cassanoism – to describe the Bari Bawler’s regular public meltdowns.

We had already witnessed one hissy fit back in December during Sampdoria against Fiorentina.But that at least had a comic element to it as he pounded the turf in despair and then burst into tears at receiving a yellow card which would mean missing the following league game at his former club AS Roma.

Sunday’s outburst was nothing but brattish petulance which should see the 25-year-old hit with a long suspension and the end of any lingering hopes of winning over
coach Roberto Donadoni ahead of Euro 2008.

Having already picked up a yellow card for kicking over the corner flag in celebration at grabbing the equaliser against Torino - although the corner flag came out on top by bouncing back and cutting its assailant’s lip - the striker then received his marching orders after tripping Toro striker David Di Michele, leading to a stream of foul-mouthed abuse at the referee.

It took at least three players including Toro’s imposing midfielder Simone Barone to hold Cassano back and even when he finally left the pitch he refused to move from the area in front of the tunnel where bare-chested he continued to rage against the official.

Strangely, when the final whistle sounded, a Zen-like calmness descended on the man-boy and he was somehow allowed to walk over to the home fans before bowing in the manner of a Buddhist monk cultivating love and peace to the world.


While Cassano no doubt has the ability to humiliate any defender on the planet, it seems that he is now more concerned with self-humiliation.“I am so stupid,” he bleated when he finally came to his senses. We would all agree with that.


Thank goodness then for the return to form of Francesco Totti.In contrast to his former best friend, the Roma captain has toned down his unsavoury on-field antics and on Saturday evening cut
to pieces before delivering the perfect coup de grace with a blistering drive that needed a super slo-mo to catch again.


Also filed under the ‘Good’ column was Fiorentina’s coming of age at Juventus who were just plain bad as the Old Lady crashed to a last-minute 3-2 defeat.AC Milan’s draw against Lazio on Saturday evening was so ugly that the brightest moment in the game was Rolando Bianchi getting on the scoresheet.


Who would have thought the weekend would end with the whole of Italy cheering
Napoli as they reopened the title race in a thoroughly-deserved victory over a jaded-looking Inter in a full-house at the San Paolo stadium.

It proves already that March indeed is the maddest month.