By Sergio Stanco
Mauricio Pinilla is desperate to extend his stay at Cagliari after enjoying a hugely successfully six-month stint with the island outfit.
The Chile international netted eight goals in 14 Serie A appearances after arriving in Sardinia on loan from Palermo during the January transfer window and his future is now up in the air.
Pinilla, though, would dearly love to remain at the Sant'Elia, having finally begun to realise the potential first identified by Inter nine years ago.
"Here in Cagliari I have found a club and team-mates who gave me confidence right away," the 28-year-old striker told Goal.com. "It has all been perfect.
"Now I am thinking only of Cagliari. The market will open soon and I'm happy here. I have expressed my desire to stay and I hope that the club will sign me on a permanent contract. Let's see what happens."
Pinilla seemed destined for superstardom after joining Inter from Universidad de Chile as a teenager in 2003 but he never made a single Serie A appearance for the Nerazzurri and, after unsuccessful loan spells at Chievo and Celta Vigo, he joined Sporting Lisbon.
The forward has led a peripatetic existence ever since and admits that he only has himself to blame for his failure to make his mark at San Siro.
"At the time I was young and immature," he admitted. "I did not see myself as a professional. But at some point thereafter, I realised that my life had always been football and everything changed for the better.
"I have definitely matured, grown. I have been through many experiences, even negative, but these have helped me to become the player and the man I am today."
For that reason, Pinilla is hoping that his compatriot, Eduardo Vargas, will hang tough after failing to settle at Napoli following his big-money move from Universidad de Chile during the January transfer window.
"Vargas is a great player," he argued. "One must have patience with him because he comes from a different kind of football.
"I also met many difficulties in the beginning and I have no doubt that next year he will prove his worth."
Arturo Vidal, meanwhile, has had no problems adjusting to the Italian game following his arrival at Juventus from Bayer Leverkusen last summer, with the midfielder having played a key role in the Bianconeri's Scudetto success.
"I've known him for some time and he had already demonstrated his value in Germany," Pinilla pointed out.
"Even in Chile and with the national team, he showed he has something extra to give to the team whenever he plays. He runs a lot and is also very good technically."