Giuseppe Rossi made his long-awaited return to the Italy line-up on Tuesday and the Fiorentina striker admitted it was an emotional experience.
Rossi came on as a second-half substitute in the World Cup qualifier against Armenia that finished 2-2.
The 26-year-old had not featured for Italy in the past two years after enduring a long spell on the sidelines due to successive anterior cruciate ligament injuries on his right knee.
"It has been a beautiful feeling to play with the national team again, to step on the field wearing the Azzurri colours and suffer alongside my team-mates," Rossi told Rai Sport.
Since recovering from injury this summer, Rossi has shown no signs of slowing down, scoring five goals in seven league games for Fiorentina.
The American-born striker is, however, aware of the challenge he faces to be a part of Cesare Prandelli's final squad for next year's tournament in Brazil.
Rossi, who has scored six goals in 28 appearances for Italy, was among the final players cut from coach Marcello Lippi's 2010 World Cup and missed Euro 2012 through injury.
"The spot is not mine yet," he said. "We are trying to create a great group and there are many strikers that are in fantastic condition."
Rossi believes Italy failed to show their best form in their last two qualifiers, where they came close to seeing their unbeaten run come to an end.
The Azzurri had gone into the encounters at Denmark and against Armenia having already booked a place in the World Cup.
A last-gasp equaliser from Alberto Aquilani handed Italy a 2-2 draw at Denmark last Friday before Mario Balotelli came to the rescue on Tuesday to earn the Azzurri a point against Armenia in Naples.
"Prandelli was right to say that we are better when we have the ball, as we have quality and good passers with technique even at the back," Rossi said.
"Against Armenia, there were a few distractions at the start and unfortunately in football these things can happen.
"But the important thing is that we reacted well and were determined to get the result.
"I would say the draw was a good result."
The Azzurri have finished top of Group B with 22 points from 10 games but will not be a top seed in the World Cup draw on December 6.
However, this is not a main concern for Prandelli.
"We were not a top seed at the European Championship and for that reason I'm not worried," Prandelli said. "The important thing was that we qualified for the World Cup."