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 By Ben Gladwell

Antonio Cassano not retiring after Verona exit, looking for a new club

Antonio Cassano is now a free agent.

Antonio Cassano says he has no intention of retiring from football yet, adding he left Hellas Verona after less than a month because he did not feel things were right for him there.

Cassano, 35, joined Verona this summer after more than a year spent on the sidelines, having been marginalised and then released by Sampdoria, yet his stay there was blighted by what was reported as homesickness.

The former Italy international threatened to quit Verona before being convinced to give it another chance, but he left the Serie A club days later with the suggestion he was retiring from the game.

But speaking to La Stampa, Cassano has clarified that he has not retired and he is now hopeful the right offer will arrive before the new season starts.

"When I spoke with Hellas, I never said 'I'm retiring,'" Cassano said. "I would challenge anybody who claims the opposite. Other things have been written, but the truth is this: when we terminated my contract, they asked about inserting a compensation clause in the event that I found another club.

"I accepted. It has nothing to do with homesickness. I definitely want to continue and I have more than a few ideas, but no offers. The main thing is I enjoy myself, like I always have done in my career."

Cassano has decided to return to his family home in Liguria and is waiting for the next opportunity to arise.

"Life is made of decisions and you can make decisions which you think are right and then reconsider them," Cassano said. "It's happened billions of times in the world, but if it happens to a footballer, it makes more noise.

"Then if you add to that it is Cassano, then he's just crazy. I've made a lot [of decisions] in my crazed life, but I am not stupid, and above all I have always been coherent. As for everything else, I am used to living with media pressures. I've become a raincoat -- rain just slides off me.

"The spark simply did not ignite with Hellas and I realised that straight away. It's like being with a woman and realising you don't want to spend time with her. It's a question of feeling, of something in the air."

Cassano still hopes the right offer will come from a Serie A club, even if Virtus Entella -- who are based in nearby Chiavari -- are an attractive option in Serie B.

"I felt it was better to interrupt things rather than drag them on. [Entella] would be a big challenge, to try to get a miraculous promotion into Serie A," he said. "I was close to them in February. I had accepted but I took a night to think about it and then did not feel it was time to drop down to Serie B yet.

"Now, if anybody wants me they have to call me because I don't have an agent. I'll wait until September, otherwise I will just stay at home."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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