Donadoni backs Cassano's Italy chances

Parma coach Roberto Donadoni believes his veteran striker Antonio Cassano is playing himself into contention for a spot in Italy's World Cup squad.

Football News: Antonio Cassano, Cesare Prandelli

Cassano played at Euro 2012 for Italy coach Cesare Prandelli but has not featured in any of the Azzurri's 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

"Cassano is working well and since the start of our training camp up to now, he has lost almost eight kilograms," Parma coach Roberto Donadoni said to Gazzetta dello Sport.

"This proves he will he has to get back in contention and prove to everyone else what a champion he is."

Cassano has scored two goals and provided three assists in seven league appearances for Parma this season.

The 31-year-old joined the Ducale club from Inter Milan this summer.

"Regarding the World Cup, I can only say that if Antonio continues to hand good performances it will be difficult not to consider him," Donadoni said.

"I think it could be a positive aspect for Prandelli to have players that are not that young in the team like Cassano, (Roma captain Francesco) Totti and (Hellas Verona striker Luca) Toni.

"They are players with experience, quality and hunger to do well.

"But it will be up to the national coach to decide."

Donadoni coached Cassano at the European Championship in 2008 and said he was a model player.

A former Real Madrid and Roma player, Cassano has had disciplinary problems throughout his career, including earlier this year when Inter Milan suspended him following a training ground row with then coach Andrea Stramaccioni.

"Antonio behaved with his team-mates and with me in a perfect manner," Donadoni said. "But his return to the national team will depend on his will to re-discover himself and continue to offer great performances."

Cassano has played 35 times for Italy, scoring 10 goals.



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