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Cassano to keep playing after stunning retirement U-turn

Antonio Cassano has confirmed that he will continue to play for Verona just hours after telling the club that he was going to retire.

Reports emerged early on Tuesday that the 35-year-old would call time on his playing career just eight days after signing for the Serie A club.

Verona promptly called a media conference at which it was expected Cassano would announce his retirement, but the former Real Madrid and Inter forward has since had a dramatic change of heart.

Cassano says the prospect of being separated from his family prompted his "crazy" initial decision but has now promised fans that he will give his all in 2017-18.

"It was tough this morning," he said. "I was tired and I had a meeting with the director [Filippo Fusco] and said I wanted to take a break.

"My decision is to keep playing. I had a moment of weakness. I often think with my gut; this time I decided with my head, thanks to my wife, the director and [head coach Fabio] Pecchia.

"I want to win this bet. This morning, my gut was wrong, as it has been at other times.

"The decision I made was something crazy. I want to have a great season with this team.

"I wasn't going to leave for another team and I apologise if the fans felt betrayed. They're the 13th man on the pitch, not the 12th.

"I spent a year and a half at home and readjusting to a pre-season training camp without my family made me want to go back to them.

"I was wrong and now I'm back on track. It's hard for me to say sorry but, this week, 4000-5000 people came to see me and I apologise.

"I can still give a lot, I'm here to play and I'm really motivated. All I can say is don't get angry; after two or three games I'll make you forget about everything."

Verona are said to have promised that they will move Cassano's family to the area.