Giacomo Bonaventura says AC Milan's victory over Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana makes their suffering in recent years worthwhile.
The playmaker scored in the first half, levelling Giorgio Chiellini's strike in a 1-1 draw that progressed to penalties after extra-time.
Milan beat Juve 4-3 in the shoot-out, with Gianluca Lapadula's miss going unpunished after Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala failed from the spot.
Victory secured a first trophy for Milan in five-and-a-half years - their last coming in August 2011 when they won the Supercoppa against city rivals Inter.
Bonaventura has been with Milan since 2014 and experienced some of that barren spell, but now feels those struggles were worth it.
"I am happy," he said to Rai. "In recent years we have really suffered and the results didn't come, but this joy repays us for all those years of hard work.
"We knew Juve were strong and could pin us back. They did that in the first half, but we also proved that we have got quality.
"This match gives us more confidence and belief that we can compete with sides like Juve.
"It was a great performance - now we enjoy this moment and hope to build for the future."
Bonaventura felt his goal - an excellent header from Suso's dangerous inswinging cross - was reminiscent of a top number nine.
He added: "It was a striker-style goal, wasn't it? I'm happy to have scored past Gigi Buffon, which is almost impossible!
"We had many lads here who were really hungry for success and we sacrificed ourselves for the team."