The AC Milan forward confessed he had no idea how much people cared about him prior to his health scare in October, but added he is now ready to make up for lost timeAntonio Cassano has revealed that he received a phone call from Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta prior to undergoing minor heart surgery in November.
The 29-year-old's career looked in jeopardy following a bout of cerebal ischemia on the flight home from AC Milan's 3-2 win over Roma on October 29, but he admitted that the compassion shown to him was a crucial factor in his recovery.
"Iniesta called me [before my operation]," Cassano told Studio Sport. "It was then when I realised how many people cared about me."
Cassano was given the green light to resume his football career on Tuesday after passing his latest round of medical examinations, and the Italy international says his main priority now is to make sure he can restore his reputation in the game.
"I want people to remember the good Cassano, not the one who provoked sympathy," he affirmed. "To hurt others is what I hate most."
He also spoke of his desire to return to first-team action and stated to Il Corriere dello Sport: "I have incredible enthusiasm, if I could play for [Massimiliano] Allegri, I'd fly. I'm ready, I want to help Milan win the Scudetto."
The former Roma man then turned his attentions to his hopes of earning a call-up this summer for Cesare Prandelli's Euro 2012 squad.
"The Euros in June? I intend to have a great tournament with the national team. To be out for all this time was difficult, but my wife and my son have given me the strength to go forward," he concluded.Cassano is on course to make his long-awaited comeback against Fiorentina on Saturday, with kick-off at San Siro scheduled for 15.00CET.