The Argentine scored 91 goals in competitive matches in 2012 and won his fourth Ballon d’Or in a row, and the Nerazzurri star has said that his admiration for the attacker influenced the naming of his child.
“I named him Lionel because I’m a massive fan of the best player in history. My wife wasn’t keen, but then I convinced her,” he told Italian TV programme Undici.
“In my opinion, Messi is the most important player in history. I’m in love with him on a footballing level.”
Lionel, who was born on Monday night, is Cassano’s second son after his firstborn Christopher (perhaps Cassano’s version of Cristiano?!).
Extra Time thinks that it is probably a good thing that Cassano did not follow Gerard Pique’s formula of naming his son after a club the other side of the Mediterranean: Milan.
After all, Real Sociedad doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Lionel, does it?