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Sampdoria ace Okaka: Parma rescued me from quitting football

Sampdoria forward Stefano Okaka admits he almost walked away from the game before joining Parma.

Okaka made his Italy debut this month.

"Parma, Leonardi and Donadoni wanted me, but then sent me on loan to Spezia without any explanation. I returned and was left to train on my own, again without explanation.

"Today I can only thank Parma, because otherwise I wouldn't have ended up at Sampdoria. However, at that moment I really had reached the point of thinking perhaps a professional football career was not my path.

"The only one who believed in me and protected me was Cassano. He always told me: 'The water in the sky falls sooner or later, and then it falls hard.' Come to think of it, maybe Antonio should've been a meteorologist...

"At the start I put my faith in the wrong people, but now I realise friendship only really begins when you are young or you are a nobody. It's pure, uncontaminated. There's always a little bit of self-interest when you make your Serie A debut at 16 and people suddenly start liking you."

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