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Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 5 games in Spain and travel to under-fire Atletico Madrid on Tuesday – See the full betting here (Tues 19:45)

Sampdoria chief executive Beppe Marotta has reiterated that Antonio Cassano’s threats to leave the club are “understandable” given his continued exclusion from the Italian national side.

“I think that his remarks must be accepted,” Marotta told Radio Anch’io Lo Sport.

“It is an outburst that comes at the end of a bad game and was aimed at a minority of the Marassi crowd.

“And I also reckon that he did it to protect the entire group. His comments have nothing to do with the ‘cassanate’ of his past.

“Cassano is a world-class player. Should he decide to leave one day, we should only be grateful to him for what he did for Samp. He deserves respect only because of this.”

Despite Cassano’s impressive start to the season which helped Sampdoria climb into second place in the league, Italy coach Marcello Lippi continues snubbing the former Roma and Real Madrid man.

“Antonio seemed disappointed and referred to the insults he received at Marassi,” explained Marotta.

“But it is possible that he is still bitter over the exclusion from the Nazionale. He really craves to wear the Italy shirt. As a result, he is not at ease at the moment.

“Nonetheless, we must respect the choices of the coach.”

Cassano hinted he could leave the Sampdoria after being upset by criticism from fans during Sunday’s 0-0 home draw with his former club Bari.

“It’s already been three or four games where I’ve been whistled. The same happened at Roma and I left, it happened at Madrid and I left. Sampdoria are second in the league. I repeat second!,” he said.

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 5 games in Spain and travel to under-fire Atletico Madrid on Tuesday – See the full betting here (Tues 19:45)

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