Cassano suffered an ischemic stroke on the flight back to Milan after the Rossoneri’s 3-2 league win at Roma on October 29 and underwent a minor heart surgery last week.
The Italy international forward is recovering and is expected to regain full fitness in four to six months, but Abate admits that even on Sunday they could not shake him off their mind as they dedicated the 4-0 victory at San Siro to their compatriot.
“As far as Antonio goes, we really had no idea what it was and we dedicate this win to him,” explained the 24-year-old on Milan’s official website.
“The coach knew it was on our mind and he spoke to us before we took to the pitch and calmed us down a bit. They were strange days, we were all nervous.
“Antonio is a great player but more than that a great person, always happy and smiling, exuberant, always ready with a joke.
“He’s a class act and when you miss someone like that in the changing room, you feel it. We’re all waiting on him.”
Milan are currently third in the league standings with 20 points from 10 matches, a point behind joint leaders Udinese and Lazio.