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El Shaarawy thanks AC Milan fans after 'unforgettable night'

Stephan El Shaarawy praised AC Milan supporters after they applauded him following his goal for Roma in their 3-1 win at San Siro on Saturday.

The Italy international is on loan with Luciano Spalletti's team, who are expected to exercise their option to sign him on a permanent basis.

El Shaarawy netted Roma's second goal in the victory and refused to celebrate, prompting applause from the Milan faithful, which was repeated when he was substituted in the closing stages.

"It was a whirlwind of strong emotions for me," the 23-year-old told Roma's official website.

"It's been a very special night – coming back to San Siro, scoring in front of the Curva Sud where I scored my first Serie A goal, getting a round of applause when I came off.

"It was a unique and unforgettable night and I have to thank the Milan fans, as they cheered me even when I was being substituted. I'm delighted."

The eight league goals scored by El Shaarawy for Roma are the most of any player who was signed by a Serie A club in the mid-season window and the attacker is relishing the belief being shown in him, especially with Euro 2016 on the horizon.

"The most important thing is the faith the club and the manager have shown in me from the start," he said.

"When I joined I stayed humble, got down to work and did what I do best. I had full confidence in my ability. 

"I couldn't afford to mess up, especially with the Euros approaching. I'm happy with everything I have done here. 

"Do I deserve to start for Italy? I just bide my team and – as I did against Germany – I will work hard and make sure I'm ready."

El Shaarawy is disappointed to see Milan struggling after Roma's win ensured Cristian Brocchi's men will finish outside the top six for a third consecutive season.

He continued: "It's something that makes me really sad. I have experienced it as a player and I can understand how the players will feel and how frustrated they will be. 

"They have the Coppa Italia final coming up and that is a chance for them to end the season positively. I have cheered for the club since I was a child and I still have the colours on my heart."