Sampdoria chief Beppe Marotta has declared negotiations have opened with Real Madrid over the permanent signing of Antonio Cassano.

He said: "Today we officially made the plan to keep Cassano at Sampdoria. The affair will be resolved within a month, a month and a half.

"I've asked for the fee to be lowered, but the fact that Cassano in a few months has tripled his value makes it difficult.

"Real Madrid has thanked us for the return of Cassano to high levels, but also expressed surprise at his rebirth."