Christian Vieri has revealed the full extent of the injury heartbreak that saw him miss Italy's World Cup win this summer.
The prolific 33-year-old had forced his way back into contention for the Azzurri after moving to Ligue 1 side Monaco in January.
But a niggling knee injury ended his dream of starring in the tournament, and the loss obviously hit him hard.
"Missing out on the World Cup has been my biggest disappointment as a player," Vieri told Chi magazine.
"I have played for the national team for ten years and it was supposed to be my third world championship.
"But in April I got injured. Each day I spoke to coach Marcello Lippi. He told me not to give up and that he would wait until the last moment.
"Then in May I underwent surgery and had to say goodbye to the World Cup.
"I never saw a complete match for the national team. Even the final I only saw short pieces of.
"I was like a lion in a cage. I felt terrible. I kept tossing and turning in my bed at night and I dreamt about the cup.
"I asked myself a lot of times why this misfortune had to hit me. But it was destiny."
Vieri has come full circle in his football career, returning to Serie A new boys Atalanta for the season, but he admits to having considered a drastic alternative.
"I also thought about quitting football, but it's my life," he added.
"I wanted to play and luckily I don't need the money.
"I played at Atalanta at the age of 20 and the president has remained the same. I just want to recover and keep playing."
The former Internazionale man refused to comment on a return to the national set-up, but is expected to start the season up front for the Stadio Azzurri D'Italia outfit as they look to maintain their status in the top flight of Italian football.