El Shaarawy: 'Wonderful goal' a real relief

The 22-year-old ended a 622-day drought with his strike against Sampdoria on Saturday and is now targeting a return to the Italy squad

AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy says his "wonderful goal" in his side's 2-2 draw away to Sampdoria on Saturday was an important step to his return to form following an unfortunate spate of injuries.

The Italy international gave the Rossoneri an early lead in Genoa, cutting in from the left to thump an unstoppable curling shot inside the far post – his first goal in 622 days of Italian top-flight football.

And the 22-year-old, who missed the majority of the last season through injury, was delighted to finally be back on the scoresheet.

"It was a wonderful goal and very important," he said.

"It had been missing for a long time and it helps me stay calmer.

"I'm happy for the goal, but I would have preferred a victory. It was a balanced match, let's take home this point and move forwards.

"The tears were an outburst. Many things went through my head.

"It was instinctive. I wasn't worried. I always tried to train and to help the side with my performances."

The former Genoa star also noted the significance of the venue, and admitted he is now targeting a return to international football after Italy boss Antonio Conte noted his potential earlier this week.

"I dedicate the goal to my family, in a stadium which is very dear to me. The performance of the team was fairly positive," he said.

"Conte? His words pleased me and are encouraging. I hope he calls me up."