Bride comes before recall for Cassano

MILAN - Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano has all but ruled himself out of a late Italy recall for the World Cup after saying he would not postpone his wedding in June.

Cassano, one of Serie A's most gifted players, has been ignored by Italy coach Marcello Lippi for two years despite the world champions crying out for more creativity.

The 27-year-old, whose bad boy image from the past has influenced Lippi, has matured markedly in recent years and is back on top form as Sampdoria seek qualification for next season's Champions League.

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"No way," Cassano told Reuters when asked if he would postpone his June 19 wedding if Lippi changed his mind or had an injury crisis.

"I've thought about the blue shirt since I was born but it's not my problem," added the former AS Roma and Real Madrid man.

Cassano was a surprise choice in Roberto Donadoni's squad for Euro 2008 but has not played since for Lippi, who has steered clear of other outspoken characters such as Inter Milan forward Mario Balotelli.

By scheduling his wedding during the June 11-July 11 tournament in South Africa, Cassano might have sought to force Lippi's hand but no hints to rethink the date have been forthcoming.

"I do it my way," Cassano told reporters "Maybe prima donnas are not accepted by a group but I have always been one and will continue to be."

However, the striker will still be cheering on the aging side when they take on Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia in Group F.

"I am Italian so I'll support Italy," Cassano added.

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