Polarising figure Antonio Cassano has recently revealed the tough upbringing he had to contend with before his days as a professional footballer.
The Italian played for some of the greatest club sides in world football including Real Madrid, AS Roma, AC Milan and Inter Milan spanning 18 years, although in a recent interview with Canal Plus France, Cassano struggled to survive in his formative years.
Reported via football-italia, he said: "For 17 years, I knew what it was like to starve. My mother was a cleaner, and with the little money she earned, we'd eat on 3000-4000 lira (between €1-2).
"I played on the streets, in the alleyways. I'd play for whoever gave me the most money. That 4000-5000 (between €2-3) was used to help the family.
Cassano's career however soon changed after a magnificent solo goal against Inter Milan whilst at Bari aged just 17 announced the forward on the global stage.
He continued, stating: "That match against Inter made me become rich and famous. Football works wonders."
Casson's career also took him to Spain and play for Real Madrid, yet despite despite winning the La Liga title in the 2006/07 season, he only made 19 appearances in two seasons with Los Blancos, scoring twice.
The Italian admits in the same interview that he regrets his short time at the Santiago Bernabeu, admitting there was a lot of pressure on his relatively young shoulders.
(You may also be interested in Real Madrid Star Casemiro Insists Los Blancos Can Still Close 16-Point Gap on Leaders Barcelona)
Reported via MARCA, he said: "Real signed me to replace (Luis) Figo and (Michael) Owen, two Ballon d'Or winners. Many players would have paid to play in that team, but I complained when I was not playing.
"What I regret most in my career was leaving Real Madrid. I was in the best team in history and I could have stayed longer and gained much more.
"But, I followed my instinct, I made mistakes and I left."