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Antonio Cassano sacrificed in deal for €10 million Liverpool target

The once golden boy of Italian football is to be 'cast aside' as a footnote in a deal for Ishak Belfodil, who had interested Liverpool.

Antonio Cassano, remember him?

The fresh face of Italian football touted as their next icon - who ended up signing for Roma for a fee of €30 million at just 19-years-old.

12 years on, the attacker finds himself an afterthought in a deal for another 'next big thing', on the verge of joining the seventh club of his now journeyed career.

Reports in Italy have stated that Cassano is one of two players to be traded in by Inter Milan in a deal for Ishak Belfodil.

Belfodil is a 21-year-old Algerian forward who has been compared to Karim Benzema, and has been playing over the past season with Parma.

It has been claimed on numerous occasions over the past few weeks that Liverpool scouted Belfodil, a player who shone over the first half of the Serie A season.

He almost signed for Juventus in January, only for the move to fall through on deadline day and his form suffered as a result, but clearly not enough for Inter Milan to want to invest in him.

Inter want to buy half of his contract plus his registration for next season for €10 million, plus sending Antonio Cassano and Matias Silvestre on loan.

It's quite a deal for Parma, and one which might just be good for Cassano. He netted seven goals in Serie A last season, and at Parma he will be reunited with Roberto Donadoni - who picked him regularly when Italy coach between 2006 and 2008.

The transfer says everything about how Cassano's career has gone downhill over the past decade, through his own lack of focus and disciplinary issues - and a heart problem which caused him to miss almost all of the 2011/12 season.

His troubles can be traced back to his storied time at Roma, where after five years he was sold to a Real Madrid side who wanted to take a gamble on him, despite the manager being Fabio Capello - who had originally clashed with him in Rome.

His best ever season came in 2008/09, scoring 15 goals and providing 18 assists for Sampdoria. It may be no coincidence this was for a team where he was allowed to be the star, and he was a little further removed from the limelight.

It may just be that a similar scenario transpires at Parma, for Cassano's sake he deserves some sustained success for the remainder of his career,  who after his heart condition has yet to calm  down - as a fight with now removed Inter boss Andrea Stracciamoni showed earlier this year.

Ironically Belfodil showed similar tempestuousness at Parma earlier in the season, and Inter may just find they are trading in one controversial player for another - albeit a younger and hopefully slightly more focused model.

What do you make of Cassano's career and the transfer?

images: © goatling


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