Recently retired Italian cult hero Antonio Cassano has claimed he could have been at the level of players like Lionel Messi or Neymar had he simply taken a different approach to his profession.
Despite his innate ability, Cassano earned a reputation throughout his journeyman career as something of troublemaker, right up until the very end when he retired, un-retired and then retired again within a few weeks of signing for Hellas Verona in July.
"I am a problematic guy, as I never know what mood I'm going to wake up in," Cassano honestly explained in an interview with Rai Sportat home in Italy.
"I could've been playing on another planet, but I had this issue that I didn't like training and I wanted to eat the way I felt like at the time and I ruined myself…," he added.
"I played in the best clubs in the world, like Real Madrid, Inter and Milan. If I'd had another head on my shoulders, I could've been playing on Mars. I'd be like Lionel Messi, Neymar and few others."
As it was, Cassano's best season came during the 2003/04 campaign with Roma when he was only 21-years of age and a fresh talent. He scored 18 times in all competitions that campaign and was chosen for the Italy squad that went to Euro 2004.
He later managed just four goals in 29 appearances for Real Madrid over two seasons between 2005 and 2007, while his role in Milan's Serie A title win in 2010/11 was relatively minor.