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Antonio Cassano used to play football for €2 a day to stop his family from starving

Before the Italian legend became a footballing superstar his life was very different

What a man Antonio Cassano is.

He is one of the true characters of noughties football and this story proves that he had to work incredibly hard to make a career out of football.

The wildly talented maverick burst onto the scene at the age of 17 with a breakthrough goal against Inter for Bari.


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similar hair to Totti but much worse

Reuters
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similar hair to Totti but much worse

Following that crowning moment Cassano went on to have a glittering career at some of Europe’s most glamorous clubs.

His CV includes over 100 appearances for Roma, spells at Real Madrid, AC Milan and Inter and a few other Italian clubs.

Cassano also represented Italy for over 10 years and boasts 39 caps for the Azzurri.


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Cassano was on Italy exile when they won the World Cup in 2006

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Cassano was on Italy exile when they won the World Cup in 2006

Although his life wasn’t always plain sailing.

The jewel of Old Bari, as he is nicknamed, grew up in the town in Southern Italy and his early life was very difficult.

His mother never went to school, barely spoke Italian and had very little money to raise Cassano.

Real Madrid took a chance on Cassano in 2006, it didn’t really work out

AFP
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Real Madrid took a chance on Cassano in 2006, it didn’t really work out

“I knew what it was like to starve,” Cassano starkly told Canal Football Club. 

“For 17 years, I knew what it was like to starve, really.

“My mother was a cleaner, and with the little money she earned, we’d eat on 3,000-4,000 lire [between €1-2].

“I played on the streets, in the alleyways. I’d play for whoever gave me the most money. That 4,000-5,000 lire [between €2-3] was used to help the family.

“That match against Inter made me become rich and famous. Football works wonders.”

While Cassano always had extreme talent, he had to go through the struggle and help his family to eat.

We’re glad his creative flair was recognised.