World Player of the Week: Antonio Cassano - AC Milan

World Player of the Week
Antonio Cassano
AGE 29
FOR AC Milan
 AC Milan
 1-0 Genoa
1-4 AC Milan
Antonio Cassano's playing career was under threat after he suffered a stroke last year, with many suggesting that he may not be able to return to action before the Euro 2012 finals. However, the Italy international forward has made a miraculous recovery from his heart problems and was in superb form over the past seven days.

Cassano came on as a substitute in AC Milan's Serie A clash against Genoa, with the Rossoneri struggling, and totally changed the game to lead his side to a 1-0 victory. Then on Sunday Cassano started his first match in six months and produced a virtuoso performance.

The former Roma and Real Madrid star scored Milan's first goal at Siena and set up both of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's strikes to keep Massimiliano Allegri's side in the hunt for the Scudetto. Cassano had been thoroughly missed by the Rossoneri and his return boosts the Rossoneri's slim chances of pipping Juventus to the Serie A title. It is also good news for Italy ahead of Euro 2012, and a real positive story all round.
Congratulations to Cassano,'s 154th World Player of the Week winner!

Honorable Mentions

Yasser al Qahtani - Al Ain

The Saudi Arabian striker scored a double on Friday to help Al Ain win the UAE Pro-League title with a 2-0 victory over reigning champions Al Jazira. Both of his goals came inside the opening 20 minutes, and his manager Cosmin Olariou said this of him after the game: "He is a player who does well in finals and big games.”

Edin Hazard - Lille

Hazard has been in very good form for defending champions Lille and exhibited a stellar performance against Paris Saint-Germain in their 2-1 victory in Ligue 1 on Sunday. The Belgian attacker scored from the penalty spot after hitting the post and played a major role in Lille’s winning goal to keep them on the fringes of the title race.

Fernando Llorente - Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao created history on Thursday by reaching the final of the Europa League and Llorente was the man who stole the show at San Mames. The Spanish striker provided two assists and scored the winner against Sporting Lisbon in its 3-1 home win to help his team clinch the semifinal tie 4-3 on aggregate. It was one of the best performances from Llorente in his club career.

Raul - Schalke

Raul has still one more game to play for Schalke, but he put the curtain down on his career at the Veltins Arena by scoring against Hertha Berlin in the Royal Blues’ 4-0 victory. The veteran Spanish striker was arguably the best player of the match as he also set up one goal, sealing third place in the Bundesliga this season for Huub Stevens’ side.

Fernando Torres -

Torres returned to form in superb fashion over the past week, scoring four goals in two games. He netted the equalizer against Barcelona, as Chelsea drew 2-2 at Camp Nou to progress to the Champions League final. Then on Sunday Torres scored a hat trick in the Blues’ 6-1 demolition of Queens Park Rangers at Stamford Bridge.

On Sunday we encouraged our readers to nominate their choices for the best player of the week and here are some of your comments:

Oahray in Nigeria called for Torres to be awarded the honour for his performances against Barcelona and QPR.

"Fernando Torres does it for me. A beautiful goal to seal Chelsea's qualification to the final. A sublime hat-trick against QPR. I am a Barca fan but El Nino it is!"

Subhasis in Kolkata also voted in favour of the former Livepool striker.

"For me it's Fernando Torres. His hat-trick might have come against a very poor QPR side but he was cool and calm in his finishes. And also, we should not forget his goal against Barcelona. The prize surely belongs to El Nino. He is back!"

Muaaz in Johannesburg put forward Luis Suarez as a candidate after his hat trick for Liverpool against Norwich City in the Premier League.

"It has to be Luis Suarez. A brilliant hat-trick and what a way to cap it off with a strike from the halfway line. When was the last time we saw that??"

A reader who simply describes himself as D in Sydney went with what our editors chose as the best player over the past seven days.

"Antonio Cassano. After six months on the sidelines, he returns to the starting line-up to score one and assist two and to show exactly how badly Milan have been missing him."

Ali in Pakistan felt that Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer deserves the prestigious prize for his heroics against Real Madrid in the penalty shootout.

 "Neuer deserves to be world player of the week because of his outstanding penalty saves in midweek against Real Madrid in the Champions League. He stopped one of the best penalty takers in the world and helped Bayern reach the final. Although Fernando Torres also got his form back and scored important goals this week, I think that Neuer performed well and deserves to be crowned player of the week."

Each week our worldwide team of editors will put forward a selected candidate, as chosen by International, who deserves recognition for achieving something special that matchday.

You can also help us choose a worthy recipient of the weekly accolade by leaving your nominations and comments here. Your suggestions will be taken into consideration.

It won't necessarily be the best player in the world - at least not usually - but whoever we crown will have accomplished something amazing. It might be for a particularly awesome performance or for something praiseworthy off the pitch - either way, the person in question deserves special attention...