Inter striker Diego Milito was elated to return to first-team action with a double in his side’s 7-0 thrashing of Sassuolo on Sunday.
The Argentinian forward had not played a competitive match for Inter since February, when he suffered a cruciate ligament knee injury.
Just returning to the pitch was a special moment for the 34-year-old, but after coming on as a 54th-minute substitute for Rodrigo Palacio, he helped himself to two late goals, putting the finishing touches on Inter’s record away win in the Italian top flight.
“This brace means a lot to me,” a delighted Milito said afterwards. “I’m delighted with my return and of course to score two goals as well.
“We played superbly today and we’ve got a fantastic group of lads here.
“There are loads of people I’d like to thank…my family, my kids, my team-mates, Andrea Scanavino, who worked closely with me in this period, Franco Combi and other doctors.”
The win lifted Inter to the top of the Serie A table as they extended their unbeaten record to four matches this season.
They have scored 13 league goals and conceded just one in that time, marking a significant turnaround from last season, when they finished a disappointing ninth.
And Milito hailed the impact that new coach Walter Mazzarri has had at the club.
“We really have got an exceptional group here and we’re going about things the right way,” he said.
“Coming back into a team that’s playing so well makes everything that much easier. We must keep taking each game as it comes – that’s what we’re trying to do.
“We’ve got a new group of players and a new coach so there’s lots of work to do but we’re on the right track.”
Inter president Massimo Moratti admitted that he was surprised at the quick turnaround Mazzarri has overseen at the club.
“I didn’t expect him to have quite this impact,” Moratti said.
“He’s done brilliantly because he’s a hard worker and he’s instilled the same sense of joy and duty that he has in everyone else. Hopefully that will continue.”
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