What do we know for sure?
As the AC Milan squad flew back from a 3-2 victory away to Roma on Saturday their international striker Antonio Cassano complained of feeling unwell. This escalated swiftly to the point where the 29-year old – who had previously been laughing and joking with team-mates – suddenly had problems with his vision, speech and movement.
Upon landing he was rushed to hospital.
Was it a stroke?
Initial reports claimed that Cassano has suffered an ischemic stroke, something that the club has neither confirmed nor denied (they merely stated that until it came from an ‘accredited medical source’ it would remain a ‘hypothetical diagnosis’).
Certainly the description of the player’s ailments point towards this worrying diagnosis though his agent Giuseppe Bozzo claims even the doctors are still unclear about this.
At this time reports vary between a ‘mystery illness’ to a stroke.
What’s the latest?
Thankfully all signs are that the player is recovering well. Neurological damage to the patient has been ruled out due to Cassano being now able to walk and talk normally again so soon after the incident. Indeed his Milan coach, Massimiliano Allegri, is hopeful Cassano will be back in action after the international break. Team-mate Gianluca Zambrotta meanwhile has been in contact with Cassano and says he ‘seems fine’.
About the player
Antonio Cassano began his career at Bari where he lit up the Serie A with some sublime performances and became the bright beacon of hope for the future of the Azzurri. He soon gained the nickname Il Gioiello di Bari Vecchia (“the jewel of Old Bari”) and, aside from his football talents that have seen his play for Roma, Real Madrid and Milan, is also know for his fiery short temper. So much so that a phrase once coined by former boss Fabio Capello ‘Cassanata’ is now widely used in Italian sports parlance as a euphemism for behaviour incompatible to team spirit.
Away from the pitch and tantrums he is married to a former water polo player and in March of this year he became a father for the first time.