Cassano expresses gratitude

Milan and Italy forward sends 'big hug' to well-wishers

Antonio Cassano: Recovering after minor heart surgery

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AC Milan and Italy forward Antonio Cassano has said thank you to well-wishers who have passed on their support after he underwent minor heart surgery.

The 29-year-old had the operation last Friday after falling ill on the plane back from a match at Roma.

Cassano is now facing several months of rehabilitation and will be on the sidelines during one of the best spells of his career.

And he wrote in an open-letter on Milan's official website: "I wanted to express my personal gratitude and that of my family for the extraordinary affection which has been shown towards me in the last few days."

He added: "The difficulties and sadness have been mitigated by so many demonstrations of affection from all over the world.

Big problem

"I will observe a rest period at home and I will be glued to the television to follow the fortunes of my Milan and the national team."

"A big hug to everyone and thank you."

Meanwhile, AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri dedicated Sunday's 4-0 win over Catania to Cassano.

Allegri told Sky Italia: "The first thought after the match was for him. He experienced something bad and that is a big problem.

"He is smiling and we will wait for him."