Gonzalo Higuain was understandably delighted to be back in Real Madrid's starting XI on Sunday and back among the goals.
The Argentina international was a regular for Real until he suffered a serious back injury last season that required surgery and kept him sidelined from November until April.
Since shaking off the problem he has largely been forced to make do with a place on the bench, with Karim Benzema getting the nod in Jose Mourinho's first-team plans.
Higuain had started just once this season before being thrust back into the fold for a trip to Espanyol.
He made the most of Benzema's absence through injury as he bagged a hat-trick, with his treble ensuring that Real remain just a point adrift of league leaders Barcelona.
Speaking after the game, Higuain said: "I'm very happy. I suffered a lot to get back to playing and I'm happy to have a game like that. Also, I was able to complete the entire game, which is very good to help me recover top form.
"Mourinho congratulated me. Everybody knew that I needed this after the injury. Now I'm only thinking of enjoying it and taking it game by game."
He added on the club's official website: "This victory helps us continue near the teams at the top. It was a difficult game, but very good for me to continue gaining confidence and playing time and for us to continue moving forward in a very positive manner."
Real have already dropped five points this season, in their opening six games, but Higuain insists too much is being made of their early wobble.
"There wasn't any crisis, we had two bad games, nothing more," he said in AS.
"Against Espanyol it was important to win because we knew if we didn't we would have fallen further away from the leaders. Everybody did a great job."