When Giuseppe Rossi struck past Gianlugi Buffon to seal a wonderful Fiorentina counter-attack it not only completed his hat trick and a memorable 4-2 turnaround against the Serie A champions, but it completed his two year journey back to the grand stage.
Since being allowed to leave Old Trafford in the summer of 2007, the Italy international has remained undeterred in efforts to prove that decision wrong.
Following his move to Villarreal his rise as the club's instrumental replacement for Diego Forlan culminated in a wildly successful campaign where he struck 18 league goals as Villarreal finished fourth in 2011.
But an anterior cruciate ligament injury on his right knee during a clash against Real Madrid in October 2011 was the first in a succession of overwhelming setbacks. And just as the former Manchester United striker was nearing a return six months later, a reoccurrence struck, adding another 10 months to his spell on the sidelines.
The 26-year-old's transfer to Fiorentina in January of this year for a fee in the region of €10m was an indication that the US born striker's desire had not wavered during his prolonged period out of the game, and a 15 minute hat-trick against Antonio Conte's side accentuated his return nearly two years to the day when his troubles began.
The New Jersey-native had already made thrilling in roads this season, scoring in Fiorentina's opening game of the season in a 2-1 defeat of Catania before adding a further five in the Viola's next five games.
The instinctive awareness and unerring finishing that saw Rossi's reputation grow exponentially in Spain appeared to be more evident than ever, as Juventus learned on Sunday.
Following goals from Carlos Tevez and Paul Pogba - brazenly marked by the 'machine gun' celebration made infamous by Fiorentina's favourite son Gabriel Batistuta - Rossi instigated what would be a remarkable comeback and their first home win over Juve in the league in 15 years.
Leading the line in the absence of Mario Gomez, he largely struggled to find an opening for the first hour until Matias Fernandez was felled in the box. The striker confidently converted the resulting penalty and ten minutes later lifted his side back into contention after firing past Buffon from the edge of the area.
Former Valencia and Malaga winger Joaquin added a third just two minutes later before Rossi rounded off the proceedings after 80 minutes to conclude a frankly obscene turnaround.
Fiorentina's rampant assault on the current champions rings louder given the Bianconeri's unbreakable grip on Italian football over the last two seasons. Their previous biggest defeat came in a 3-1 defeat at home to Inter in November 2012 and the cub had previously failed to concede more than that during Antonio Conte's two Scudetto-winning seasons.
As the rise of Roma continued following a 2-0 win over Napoli, a result that sees them as the last remaining team with a maximum points tally in Europe's major top flight divisions, Juve's defeat at the Stadio Artemio Franchi sees the gap between the two clubs stretch to five points, a concern given the unrelenting form of Rudi Garcia's side.
Inflicting damage on Fiorentina's rivals will be a bonus for Rossi, albeit one he will be savouring for some time. But his return to the limelight in a hugely significant season with World Cup aspirations again within his grasp marks another pivotal moment in a career that at one stage was shrouded in uncertainty.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013: Drooling Guys, Conscious Girls, Naughty Jokes on Twitter [SEE PHOTOS]
- Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013: Best Pictures From The Sexiest Show Ever [ SEE PHOTOS/VIDEOS]
- Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013: Bold, Sexy and Sensuous Lingerie Fashion [PHOTOS]
- Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013: Where to Watch on TV, Time, Live Streaming Link [PHOTOS]