Pay-cut but no scrapped contract for Cassano
© AFP

Antonio Cassano remains a Sampdoria player after an Italian league arbitration board ruled on Thursday that his salary should be cut by 50 per cent, but that his contract could not be cancelled.

Sampdoria had applied to have the controversial forward's contract unilaterally terminated for gross misconduct, but Cassano maintained that he wished to stay at the club.

He is reported to have seriously insulted club president Riccardo Garrone during an argument in late October and has been frozen out by the club ever since. Cassano is set to rejoin Sampdoria's first-team squad on January 1, but it is widely expected that he will be sold in the January transfer window.

League leaders AC Milan have reportedly shown an interest in signing him, with Italian press reports suggesting Milan's Brazilian star Ronaldinho will be sold to the Los Angeles Galaxy to create a space in their squad.

Defending champions Inter Milan and Juventus were also linked to Cassano, but both have since denied interest. Cassano, 28, has 20 international caps and had looked set to become a first-choice player under new Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.

The former Real Madrid and Roma star has attracted controversy throughout his career for on-pitch tantrums and disputes off it with coaches, presidents and team-mates.