Samp deny Cassano rift talk

Striker left out simply as a 'technical choice'

Cassano: No rift with coach Del Neri

Sampdoria have denied reports of a rift between Antonio Cassano and coach Luigi Del Neri.

The striker - who was linked to Fiorentina and Manchester City last month - has been left out of Samp's squad for the last three Serie A games.

This has lead to speculation of a problem between Del Neri and the former Roma star, but general director Giuseppe Marotta says his exclusion is simply a 'technical choice'.

Marotta said: "The relationship between Cassano and Del Neri is based on reciprocal respect and professionalism.

Technical choice

"His exclusion is a technical choice and there are no disciplinary reasons behind it."

Cassano's absence has not hindered Samp, who have won their last three league games, including last weekend's 2-1 win at Siena to climb to sixth in the standings.

Marotta claims the player is still important to the club.

He added: "Cassano is a natural-born talent.

"Even if we have won our recent games without him, his presence and quality will help Sampdoria."