Italian forward Antonio Cassano admitted today that a heart scare caused him to fear dying, but he is now desperate to seize his new lease of life and help steer AC Milan to the Serie A title.
Cassano, who underwent heart surgery on 14 November, has now been given the green light to resume his playing career with a recall to the team a possibility in Saturday's clash against Fiorentina.
"I was scared of dying and even when that fear passed, I thought of stopping playing," Cassano told Studio Sport. "But now I am ready to play again, perhaps on Saturday against Fiorentina."
A quick return to form for Cassano could even propel him into Italian national coach Cesare Prandelli's thinking for UEFA EURO 2012. Cassano, 29, has not played since the end of October after suffering a minor stroke that required surgery to repair his heart defect.
"If I return and I can see that I am doing well, then great. But if I feel that it's not working out, I will say 'thanks everybody' and I will go home," he said. "I want people to have good memories of Cassano; I don't want pity."