Where’s Cassano? Lippi still won’t answer…By: Francesco | March 24th, 2009
After seeing Marcello Lippi’s latest national team call-ups this Sunday, the big question all over Italy has been “Where’s Cassano?”. The media has written articles on it and are severely questioning Lippi’s decision to leave out El Pibe di Bari yet again. It really is mind-boggling how Lippi can leave Italy’s most talented player at home watching the game from his couch. Isn’t the national team supposed to be a team made up of the best players from that nation? Apparently not for Lippi. This is the equivalent of Argentina consistently leaving Lionel Messi home or Portugal refusing to call up Cristiano Ronaldo. Furthermore, the fact that players like Simone Pepe and Pasquale Foggia (who don’t even have half the skill Cassano has) or Giampaolo Pazzini (who has been in great form scoring goals, but who assisted all of his goals so far?) are being called up just makes it even more frustrating. It’s not like Cassano doesn’t deserve it. Yes, in the past he’s been a problem, but this season he has shown full maturity. Not one outburst, and he’s only received one yellow card all season. He’s also been playing beautiful football, and has clearly been one of the best players of the season so far. There’s no other player like him right now in Italy. He’s the star that can change a game at any instant, even when your team isn’t playing well. He’s the spark that Italy lacks at the moment, and Lippi is only hurting his own chances by not bringing him in. In a recent Gazzetta poll, 81% of Italians want to see Cassano on the national team. That’s a big number. Lippi always says “All players from the age of 18 to 40 have the opportunity to play for the national team“, but we can see now that’s clearly not true.
Lippi had his first press conference today and when he was asked about the non-call of Cassano he responded like this:
“Cassano? Where is he, is he here? You know that I only want to talk about players that have been called up, and not about anyone else. I’m not obligated by anybody or anyone to give explanations about my choices or the reason why I call up this player or don’t call up this player. I’m not saying anything about this topic, and it’s not because I’m arrogant.”
Lippi didn’t answer because he doesn’t have an answer. It’s clearly because he has something against Cassano, but he doesn’t want to say it publicly in the media. If anything, the whole Cassano topic is going to be more and more of a headache for Lippi. The more he doesn’t call him up, the more the media and the fans are going to question him, and the more he’s going to have to answer Cassano questions. It’s like the same situation a few years back when Trapattoni refused to call up Roberto Baggio and he was constantly bothered by the media wanting to know his reasoning. But Lippi as we know is very stubborn, and if he doesn’t like you, he simply doesn’t like you and you can’t change it. So it looks like no Cassano on the national team now or in 2010, and we’ll have to wait until Lippi steps down after the World Cup when we have a new manager and hopefully he’ll make Cassano the focal point of the national team.
What does everyone think about the situation? Does Cassano have a chance, or is he frozen out of the national team until Lippi is gone?