Vincent Kompany said his first goal in 20 months in Manchester City's 3-0 win at Southampton was reward for his hard work on the gruelling road back to fitness.
Kompany made only his fourth Premier League start of another injury-plagued season on Saturday and the City captain marked the occasion with the opening goal at St Mary's.
The Belgian defender's 55th minute header was his first goal since August 2015 and his unrestrained celebration released all the pent-up frustration of his lengthy rehabilitation from a series of injuries.
Amid speculation City boss Pep Guardiola had lost patience with the 31-year-old's fitness problems and was willing to sell him, Kompany picked a timely moment to show his class.
"For me it's always a long journey back after injury," Kompany said.
"I would have liked to have been injured less in my career, but when it happens I put in the hard work and it pays off. I am finally giving something back to the team.
"It's ups and downs in football but ultimately what gets you up is you keep looking towards your objective. If I had to work 15 years to have just one moment like this I would do.
"I scored in front of the away fans and for me it was a great feeling. I want to remember these positive experiences.
"Playing football like this is not something many people experience. It's worth every minute of hard work."