Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has revealed he was aware AC Milan striker Antonio Cassano has been considering his future in the game before this week's announcement.

Cassano spoke of retirement after starring for Italy in victory over Northern Ireland.

"There are moments of ups and downs that every player has to endure," said Prandelli.

"Cassano had already anticipated his feelings to me," he added.

"I told him that during this positive moment he just has to live and that's all. Who knows what kind of player he will be in three years' time…"