The Sampdoria striker lit up the Derby of the Laterns against Genoa with a sublime performance.
Hero status in the eyes of the Doria fans was assured when in the dying moments he bamboozled three defenders before delivering a telling cross for Christian Maggio to score the winner.
However, the 25-year-old admitted he was making up for lost time, having failed to prove his worth at Real Madrid over two seasons.
The Bari-born star said: "I became too distracted in Madrid, away from the life of a footballer.
"I wanted to come back to Italy because Madrid wasn't the type of city for me to be a sportsman."
Despite some controversial on-field antics, the former AS Roma star is now thriving in his new-found role as team leader as coach Walter Mazzarri's side chase a UEFA Cup spot.
He added: "I could easily see myself signing a long-term contract here. I have even told the president I will reduce my salary if he can build a title-challenging side."
In the picture, no sitting down on the job for Antonio Cassano after five goals in 13 Serie A appearances this season
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