Marco Cassetti on why he left his wife and children in Italy to join the Watford revolution

Pictures: Holly Cant and Action Images

Pictures: Holly Cant and Action Images

First published in Watford FC News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Group Sports Editor

Marco Cassetti has played for his country, competed in the Champions League and been part of a title-challenging side in the top flight of Italian football for several years. He seemingly has nothing to prove. So at the age of 35, why did he decide to leave his wife and two children to join a team in English football’s second division?

“When I was young I thought the football in England was very good and I thought one day I want to go to England to play,” Cassetti explained when he sat down with the Watford Observer last week.

The veteran spoke with honesty when he was asked why he opted for Watford: “I finished my contract with Roma on June 30 and on July 1 I was a free agent, but nobody asked to sign me. The first team that asked were Watford – so it was easy.”

One thing which was difficult for Cassetti was having to leave his family though. He has a wife, a 13-year-old son and a daughter of five who have remained in Italy – his son not wanting to leave his friends was seemingly a factor in the decision.

The likeable Cassetti admitted: “It is difficult leaving them because my old routine involved living with my family 24 hours a day. This is a big change.

“For me maybe this change is easier than for my wife though, because whilst I’m alone, I come to the training ground and I stay with my friends. For my wife, it’s difficult because she has to bring the guys to school and do everything else like that, so it’s very difficult work for my wife.

“But that is what it is like to be the wife of a football player, she knows the problems.”

His family visit when they can and Cassetti has adjusted to life in England quickly. The Stadio Olympico has been swapped for Vicarage Road and Rome replaced by Watford. But surprisingly, Cassetti stated that has been a positive thing.

“Here there is no pressure. It is a pleasure to go to the stadium to play because after the match you can go outside the stadium alone,” he explained. “The fans and the supporters clap and there is a great atmosphere. At every club in Italy, that is very difficult when it comes to the social life of a football player.”

Cassetti spent the previous six season at Roma; he finished as Serie A runner-up on three occasions, won the Coppa Italia in his first two seasons at the club and played in the Champions League during four of his six years at the club, appearing in the Europa League for the other two.

He has acquired hero-like status at his last two clubs.

In 2009, he came on as a substitute against Lazio to score the winner against Roma’s arch rivals and at Leece, he became the first player in their history to play for Italy.

Cassetti spent most of his time at Roma as either a right-back or centre-half but he started his career as a right midfielder.

After spells at Montichiari and Lumezzane, Cassetti’s career in Serie A began at Verona where he played alongside the likes of Mauro Camoranesi, Adrian Mutu and Alberto Gilardino.

When Verona were relegated, he joined newly-promoted Lecce in 2003 where he spent three years and went on to win five caps for Italy. Cassetti joined Roma when Leece were relegated in 2006.

Watford Observer:

Cassetti had no issue with swapping Italian giants Roma for Watford, who by his own admission he knew very little about.

He said: “Football is football. For me, I love this sport, I love football and the football is not the problem. If I play in Serie A or I play in the Championship, the ball is the same size in England, in Italy, in Africa – everywhere.”

But he admitted: “The truth is I didn’t know a lot about the Championship. I knew it was a difficult league, physically, and the players have a lot of quality. I arrived in pre-season because I was a free agent and in the first 20 days here it was hard for me, but after that I adapted.”

Cassetti spends much of his free time with Alex Geijo; the pair lived together for the first two months after joining the club and now have apartments in the same building.

Several of the new arrivals at Watford knew each other from their time at Udinese but while Cassetti joined the Italian club before moving to Watford on loan, it was only to reduce the Hornets’ wage bill.

So Cassetti did not know any of the players at Vicarage Road personally but confirmed the whole squad do get on well and believes the relationships in the dressing room have been of huge benefit for Watford.

The 35-year-old did not sign for the Golden Boys until late August so was not included in a match-day squad for the first four games of the season and had to wait until the eighth fixture before he was named in the starting line-up.

He says Italian football is more tactical than the English game, which he believes is more physical and played at a higher tempo. Cassetti seemed to struggled with the pace of the Championship early in his Watford career but he quickly cemented his place on the right of midfield and has impressed this season.

Cassetti has been pleased with his personal performances and is confident the team can continue their impressive form this season; culminating in promotion.

“I think the team this year can go straight to the Premier League because I think the players here have a lot of quality,” he stated. “There are not a lot of teams better than us; this is my opinion because I see training every day.

“We lost some games but this normal. If we play the same as we have in the last seven or eight games then we can dream of second place – I think Cardiff are too far ahead but then nothing is impossible.”

Hornets’ head coach Gianfranco Zola has praised the impact made by Cassetti during his first year in English football.

Zola said: “It has been important to have Marco because he has intelligence, he has experience and charisma. But also, he’s a great guy.

“It’s important to have players with experience. They have been a great help for the club. Marco’s fantastic but so are players like John Eustace.”

Comments (30)

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8:31am Tue 19 Feb 13

PeteBogHorrorHornet says...

Already a Watford legend!
Already a Watford legend! PeteBogHorrorHornet
  • Score: 0

8:35am Tue 19 Feb 13

PhilippineOrn says...

One of the top two players who joined us this year (imo)
One of the top two players who joined us this year (imo) PhilippineOrn
  • Score: 0

8:38am Tue 19 Feb 13

mellow yellow says...

What a top man. Just adds to the recent article on him in The Independent. I love the "ball is the same size" quote. Must be hard missing his kids, but hope he stays for at least another season.
What a top man. Just adds to the recent article on him in The Independent. I love the "ball is the same size" quote. Must be hard missing his kids, but hope he stays for at least another season. mellow yellow
  • Score: 0

8:38am Tue 19 Feb 13

hornet88 says...

Just one cassetti,
Play him for me,
Delicious football,
From Italy!
Just one cassetti, Play him for me, Delicious football, From Italy! hornet88
  • Score: 0

8:41am Tue 19 Feb 13

Dollyhat says...

So important for the team. I love watching this guy play. Great crosser of the ball. Sheer class.
So important for the team. I love watching this guy play. Great crosser of the ball. Sheer class. Dollyhat
  • Score: 0

8:53am Tue 19 Feb 13

Travelling Hornet says...

hornet88 wrote:
Just one cassetti,
Play him for me,
Delicious football,
From Italy!
Quality lyrics for a quality player.

I remember singing the 'just one Corneto' version to hundreds of Caribinari,with England fans when we were kept behind after Italy game in Turin 1980.

It works as a great terrace chant !
[quote][p][bold]hornet88[/bold] wrote: Just one cassetti, Play him for me, Delicious football, From Italy![/p][/quote]Quality lyrics for a quality player. I remember singing the 'just one Corneto' version to hundreds of Caribinari,with England fans when we were kept behind after Italy game in Turin 1980. It works as a great terrace chant ! Travelling Hornet
  • Score: 0

9:01am Tue 19 Feb 13

hornet88 says...

Travelling Hornet wrote:
hornet88 wrote: Just one cassetti, Play him for me, Delicious football, From Italy!
Quality lyrics for a quality player. I remember singing the 'just one Corneto' version to hundreds of Caribinari,with England fans when we were kept behind after Italy game in Turin 1980. It works as a great terrace chant !
Shall we try and get it going tonight?
[quote][p][bold]Travelling Hornet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]hornet88[/bold] wrote: Just one cassetti, Play him for me, Delicious football, From Italy![/p][/quote]Quality lyrics for a quality player. I remember singing the 'just one Corneto' version to hundreds of Caribinari,with England fans when we were kept behind after Italy game in Turin 1980. It works as a great terrace chant ![/p][/quote]Shall we try and get it going tonight? hornet88
  • Score: 0

9:03am Tue 19 Feb 13

Travelling Hornet says...

Travelling Hornet wrote:
hornet88 wrote:
Just one cassetti,
Play him for me,
Delicious football,
From Italy!
Quality lyrics for a quality player.

I remember singing the 'just one Corneto' version to hundreds of Caribinari,with England fans when we were kept behind after Italy game in Turin 1980.

It works as a great terrace chant !
Second verse.............

Bearded and six foot three
Marco Cassetti
From Udinese.....
[quote][p][bold]Travelling Hornet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]hornet88[/bold] wrote: Just one cassetti, Play him for me, Delicious football, From Italy![/p][/quote]Quality lyrics for a quality player. I remember singing the 'just one Corneto' version to hundreds of Caribinari,with England fans when we were kept behind after Italy game in Turin 1980. It works as a great terrace chant ![/p][/quote]Second verse............. Bearded and six foot three Marco Cassetti From Udinese..... Travelling Hornet
  • Score: 0

9:12am Tue 19 Feb 13

hornet88 says...

Travelling Hornet wrote:
Travelling Hornet wrote:
hornet88 wrote: Just one cassetti, Play him for me, Delicious football, From Italy!
Quality lyrics for a quality player. I remember singing the 'just one Corneto' version to hundreds of Caribinari,with England fans when we were kept behind after Italy game in Turin 1980. It works as a great terrace chant !
Second verse............. Bearded and six foot three Marco Cassetti From Udinese.....
Ha brilliant!

On another note, did anybody ever watch goalazio? When someone scored the commentator would shout goooooaaaaalllllaaaa
zzzziioooooo. I recon we should all shout this at the Vic whenever we get one.
[quote][p][bold]Travelling Hornet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Travelling Hornet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]hornet88[/bold] wrote: Just one cassetti, Play him for me, Delicious football, From Italy![/p][/quote]Quality lyrics for a quality player. I remember singing the 'just one Corneto' version to hundreds of Caribinari,with England fans when we were kept behind after Italy game in Turin 1980. It works as a great terrace chant ![/p][/quote]Second verse............. Bearded and six foot three Marco Cassetti From Udinese.....[/p][/quote]Ha brilliant! On another note, did anybody ever watch goalazio? When someone scored the commentator would shout goooooaaaaalllllaaaa zzzziioooooo. I recon we should all shout this at the Vic whenever we get one. hornet88
  • Score: 0

9:13am Tue 19 Feb 13

cannons tours says...

He just gets better and better and after seeing him play in the centre of deffence on saturday just makes you realise how good he is.
He just gets better and better and after seeing him play in the centre of deffence on saturday just makes you realise how good he is. cannons tours
  • Score: 0

9:56am Tue 19 Feb 13

jasonwatford says...

Great chant...lets get that going
Great chant...lets get that going jasonwatford
  • Score: 0

10:48am Tue 19 Feb 13

hornet88 says...

How many tickets have we sold for tonight?
How many tickets have we sold for tonight? hornet88
  • Score: 0

10:56am Tue 19 Feb 13

peter10531089 says...

It has been an absolute privelage watching this guy play at the Vic. Hope his family commitments dont prevent him from having at least one season with us in the premiership.

Getting ahead of myself perhaps :-)
It has been an absolute privelage watching this guy play at the Vic. Hope his family commitments dont prevent him from having at least one season with us in the premiership. Getting ahead of myself perhaps :-) peter10531089
  • Score: 0

11:27am Tue 19 Feb 13

DuffmanWFC says...

Top man, top player! Cassetti has done it at the highest level and its a privilege that he chose to join Watford!
Even at 35 he is class, he reminds me of Beckham in the way he presents himself immaculately on and off the pitch! Just without the raz-mataz!
Top man, top player! Cassetti has done it at the highest level and its a privilege that he chose to join Watford! Even at 35 he is class, he reminds me of Beckham in the way he presents himself immaculately on and off the pitch! Just without the raz-mataz! DuffmanWFC
  • Score: 0

11:29am Tue 19 Feb 13

intl says...

Yes to this chant!
Yes to this chant! intl
  • Score: 0

11:50am Tue 19 Feb 13

watford1881 says...

The most underrated player at the club.. Never below a 7/10 every week... Although he did have a shaky start until he settled in... Not used to the speed over here... I think should be captain... We sometimes need a outfield captain...
The most underrated player at the club.. Never below a 7/10 every week... Although he did have a shaky start until he settled in... Not used to the speed over here... I think should be captain... We sometimes need a outfield captain... watford1881
  • Score: 0

12:00pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Harry's Bar says...

DuffmanWFC wrote:
Top man, top player! Cassetti has done it at the highest level and its a privilege that he chose to join Watford! Even at 35 he is class, he reminds me of Beckham in the way he presents himself immaculately on and off the pitch! Just without the raz-mataz!
Or the naff tattoos.
[quote][p][bold]DuffmanWFC[/bold] wrote: Top man, top player! Cassetti has done it at the highest level and its a privilege that he chose to join Watford! Even at 35 he is class, he reminds me of Beckham in the way he presents himself immaculately on and off the pitch! Just without the raz-mataz![/p][/quote]Or the naff tattoos. Harry's Bar
  • Score: 0

12:07pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Travelling Hornet says...

Agree he should be captain.
Don't wish to blow my own trumpet but there was were a small minority on here LD and Mr Bottom included that could see his quality from the beginning when he was getting so much abuse it was pathetic ( you numbties know who you are)!
They even had a thread on The WFC forums with the schoolboys who post there,slating him.
I remember posting something like, ' you don't play for Italy if you're a bad defender', on here.
Nice to be proved right.
Agree he should be captain. Don't wish to blow my own trumpet but there was were a small minority on here LD and Mr Bottom included that could see his quality from the beginning when he was getting so much abuse it was pathetic ( you numbties know who you are)! They even had a thread on The WFC forums with the schoolboys who post there,slating him. I remember posting something like, ' you don't play for Italy if you're a bad defender', on here. Nice to be proved right. Travelling Hornet
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Bush Hornet says...

Great to have a top player at the club who's been there and done that and just wants to play for us. Quality bloke, hope his family join us.
Great to have a top player at the club who's been there and done that and just wants to play for us. Quality bloke, hope his family join us. Bush Hornet
  • Score: 0

12:19pm Tue 19 Feb 13

dorothyparker12 says...

I really think this man is a great man, joining little Watford after playing alongside Francesco Totti. But then again, his reward will be Premiership.
I really think this man is a great man, joining little Watford after playing alongside Francesco Totti. But then again, his reward will be Premiership. dorothyparker12
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Tue 19 Feb 13

tiger bay says...

Went up ten fold in my estimation with his centre back performance at Brum.. seems to have a similar attitude to our other old fella from Italy, Filipo Galli..tough as old boots the 2 of them and can read the game, making a lack of pace not such an issue..
Went up ten fold in my estimation with his centre back performance at Brum.. seems to have a similar attitude to our other old fella from Italy, Filipo Galli..tough as old boots the 2 of them and can read the game, making a lack of pace not such an issue.. tiger bay
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Tue 19 Feb 13

mellow yellow says...

Ah yes, Galli was a joy to behold. One of the very few decent Vialli signings. Really hope Marco stays for a while.
Ah yes, Galli was a joy to behold. One of the very few decent Vialli signings. Really hope Marco stays for a while. mellow yellow
  • Score: 0

2:35pm Tue 19 Feb 13

NorthHertsHornet28 says...

Great player! Plus he always has immaculate facial hair, I wish I had a beard like Cassetti!
Great player! Plus he always has immaculate facial hair, I wish I had a beard like Cassetti! NorthHertsHornet28
  • Score: 0

3:18pm Tue 19 Feb 13

sueinspain says...

NorthHertsHornet28 wrote:
Great player! Plus he always has immaculate facial hair, I wish I had a beard like Cassetti!
I`m glad I don`t!!
He is a great player, was strolling around like he owned the football pitch in La Manga, only running when he needed to, shouting instructions, and encouragement all the time. His reading of the game meant he didn`t waste a single breath!! I agree, he would make a great club captain.
[quote][p][bold]NorthHertsHornet28[/bold] wrote: Great player! Plus he always has immaculate facial hair, I wish I had a beard like Cassetti![/p][/quote]I`m glad I don`t!! He is a great player, was strolling around like he owned the football pitch in La Manga, only running when he needed to, shouting instructions, and encouragement all the time. His reading of the game meant he didn`t waste a single breath!! I agree, he would make a great club captain. sueinspain
  • Score: 0

3:32pm Tue 19 Feb 13

mattymashup says...

Marco, make your wife happy tonight. Bang in a goal, and dedicate it to her!

Class player!
Marco, make your wife happy tonight. Bang in a goal, and dedicate it to her! Class player! mattymashup
  • Score: 0

4:05pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Mr.Miggins says...

Love how at Brum on Saturday, he calmly headed Almunia's sliced clearance straight back to him. Coolness personified.

Should 1000% be captain now that he has got used to the football here.

.
Love how at Brum on Saturday, he calmly headed Almunia's sliced clearance straight back to him. Coolness personified. Should 1000% be captain now that he has got used to the football here. . Mr.Miggins
  • Score: 0

5:34pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Marcofan says...

I named myself after meeting this guy, he is a true gentleman, and I class player, he and abdi is what we have been missing for many a seasons, pleasure to watch you both
I named myself after meeting this guy, he is a true gentleman, and I class player, he and abdi is what we have been missing for many a seasons, pleasure to watch you both Marcofan
  • Score: 0

1:43am Wed 20 Feb 13

StuWFC says...

Was glad when we signed Cassetti,thought he might of been a bit of a stop-gap utility player at 35, but he's doing really well. Hopefully if he plays more centrally we can get a few more years out of the bloke!
Was glad when we signed Cassetti,thought he might of been a bit of a stop-gap utility player at 35, but he's doing really well. Hopefully if he plays more centrally we can get a few more years out of the bloke! StuWFC
  • Score: 0

8:34am Wed 20 Feb 13

John Howard Norfolk says...

I sometimes wonder what language is spoken in the dressing room?
I sometimes wonder what language is spoken in the dressing room? John Howard Norfolk
  • Score: 0

1:50pm Wed 20 Feb 13

Harry's Bar says...

Marcofan wrote:
I named myself after meeting this guy, he is a true gentleman, and I class player, he and abdi is what we have been missing for many a seasons, pleasure to watch you both
Absolutely. It's a pleasure to watch intelligent, cultured, classy players rather than the headless chicken variety we had got used to before this season.
[quote][p][bold]Marcofan[/bold] wrote: I named myself after meeting this guy, he is a true gentleman, and I class player, he and abdi is what we have been missing for many a seasons, pleasure to watch you both[/p][/quote]Absolutely. It's a pleasure to watch intelligent, cultured, classy players rather than the headless chicken variety we had got used to before this season. Harry's Bar
  • Score: 0

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