AC Milan forward Antonio Cassano will be out for a few months and needs heart surgery after falling ill at the weekend, the Italian champions said Wednesday.

The player will undergo a small surgical cardiological intervention in the coming days and the recovery time will be better defined after the surgery, but it will probably be a few months, the club said in a statement.

The problem caused insufficient blood flow to the brain, causing ischemic cerebral damage but no lasting brain damage has been detected.

The former Real Madrid striker, who recently said football had left him exhausted and that he would quit in 2014, fell ill after returning from Rome after Saturday's 3-2 win over AS Roma.

The statement said the 29-year-old is already feeling much better after reports that he initially had difficulty talking and moving.

Cassano, born in Bari, has had a colourful career marked by tantrums and personality clashes but his early immaturities looked to have been ironed out when he joined Sampdoria from Real Madrid in 2007.