Soccer: Cassano forgiven for now, but row raises doubts
Speculation bust-up with coach could affect contract talks06 March, 18:19
The player and his boss reportedly had to be physically kept apart by other squad members after a row in training escalated at the end of the session. The pair insulted and shoved each other, with Cassano reportedly mocking Stramaccioni by saying he wanted to be the new Jose' Mourinho, before being pulled apart.
Cassano has returned to the fold in time to face London side Tottenham in the first leg of their last-16 tie after reportedly apologising to the whole squad.
But the row has resurrected the long-standing debate about whether the gifted Cassano, who has a long history of ill discipline and run-ins with coaches, is a blessing or a burden.
Inter had opened talks to extend the player's contract, which is set to expire in June 2014, by 12 months, but there is media speculation that the negotiations may now be put on hold.
Cassano's temper tantrums are so numerous that the Italian press has dubbed them 'Cassanate' - a play on the widely used swear word 'cazzata', meaning f**k-up.
After exhausting the patience of his coaches at AS Roma and Real Madrid, he looked to have become a reformed character after joining Sampdoria in 2008.
He once famously gave a referee who had sent him off the 'horns' gesture, which is an Italian way of telling someone they are a cuckold, and went on to throw his shirt at him and threaten to wait for him for a fight after the game.
But otherwise he was mostly on good behaviour while playing for the Genoa side before he lost his temper with late club chairman Riccardo Garrone, calling him an "old shit", among other things.
That spat lead to a dispute that ended with Cassano joining AC Milan in 2011.
Cassano spent much of his time at Milan recovering from an operation to fix a heart defect that caused him to have a minor stroke in 2011, so it was a relatively uneventful stint in terms of 'Cassanate'.
Things looked to be moving along smoothly after he joined Inter last season in a swap deal with Giampaolo Pazzi.
He produced some fine performances and seemed to have developed a special bond with Inter's young coach Stramaccioni.
But two recent incidents set the alarm bells ringing that Cassano's temperamental side was in ascent before last week's big bust-up.
The first was when he squabbled with teammate Fredy Guarin about who should take a freekick in a 3-0 defeat at Udinese in January.
The second was a week later when TV cameras caught him reacting badly to being substituted in a 2-0 win over Pescara. The player, who comes from a deprived area of the southern Italian city of Bari, is cheerful and entertaining in his infrequent press interviews, although his controversial opinions have got him into trouble.
He was fined after causing an outcry during Euro 2012 by saying he hoped there were no gay players in the Italy team and using a derogatory term, 'froci', to describe homosexuals.
He has not played for Italy since helping the Azzurri reach the final of Euro 2012, with coach Cesare Prandelli saying he wants to focus on younger players.
And many believe it is now clear that Cassano has not made the most of his immense talent, including Fabio Capello, his former boss at Roma and Real Madrid. "He's a very good guy, generous and with great talent, but he doesn't know the limits of respect and education," the Russia coach told RAI radio this week.
"He sees football in a certain way and only knows that way, and because of that, he loses the respect of his team mates.
"It's a shame because the lad has plenty of talent and he could have done a lot more".