Andre Schürrle once had the world at his feet. A World Cup winner, playing for one of Europe's top teams in Chelsea and managed by one of the very best coaches around, everything was looking up.
So how on earth did it go so wrong for the German, to the extent that he now turns out for mid-table Spartak Moscow in Russia at the age of 29? Let's investigate.
Schürrle initially hit the headlines internationally during the summer of 2014, when he had a prolific World Cup, scoring three goals and assisting the most important of all; Mario Götze's winner in the 113th minute in the final against Argentina.
Already a regular feature at Chelsea after his move from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013, the young straw-haired winger, who could also play through the middle, was the definition of tenacity and flare in equal measure.
The defining moment came when Schürrle arguably chose the wrong path with his transfer from Chelsea to Wolfsburg in February 2015.
Let's not forget Schürrle had a pretty solid debut season at Stamford Bridge, making 30 appearances - although a fair few were from the bench - and contributing nine goals, one more than Frank Lampard and five more than Willian.
The nagging issue that plagued Schürrle during his season and a half in west London was that Mourinho often chose to utilise him on the left flank, where a half decent little Belgian also played, therefore limiting his game time.
The solution was to switch Schürrle to the right, where he could also easily operate and he did have success in that position towards the back end of the 2013/14 season, scoring a memorable hat trick against Fulham.
But during the following Premier League season which the Blues would go on to dominate, Schürrle only started 12 games in the lead up to the new year. He did score five goals though, including one of the strikes of the season against Burnley thanks to a Cesc Fabregas wonder pass.
Despite leading the league comfortably going into the Christmas period, Jose Mourinho demanded reinforcements and the club - somewhat ridiculously in hindsight - splashed out £23m on Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina. The signing seemed to signal that Schürrle was no longer required and he soon decided to join emerging German outfit Wolfsburg in a deal worth £22m.
However, it may have been presumptuous of the player to assume he was surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.
Schürrle later stated that much of his decision to move was based on a recommendation from the German coach and not Mourinho pushing him out.
"Wolfsburg might be a smaller club when you look at reputations and I thought about it long and hard," said Schürrle, speaking to Sport Bild in 2015. "I could have stayed at Chelsea. Mourinho told me that I would get my chance.
"You have to make a decision, and in the end I only wanted to play football again. Joachim Löw told me it would be a great move for me and that is why Wolfsburg are a step forward for me. Wolfsburg have a great team as well and can play for silverware in the Bundesliga and in Europe."
Schürrle did indeed join an exciting team, but they certainly weren't Chelsea-standard. Wolfsburg did have Kevin De Bruyne, also a past Blues recruit, and Ivan Perišić on their books and it wasn't a total surprise that, after a surprising DFB-Pokal triumph, they both departed the following season.
Wolfsburg struggled without their former star duo and eventually Schürrle too was snapped up by a European giant, joining Borussia Dortmund for a record fee in 2016, where he is to this day still officially their player.
But you just can't help deducing that, aged only 25, Schürrle jumped too soon from a very promising position in a title winning side in the Premier League to a developing yet unsustainable team in Germany. While that team was talented, they were never going to compete with the likes of Bayern Munich in the long term.
Schürrle's hunger to be the 'main man' probably cost him a real chance of a consistent career at one club. He hasn't lasted longer than two seasons at any of his seven clubs, which highlights perhaps a constant need to feel regarded and respected, so although his attempted redemptive foray into English football with Fulham - which ended with relegation - may have surprised a few, it was yet another chance for him to take centre stage. However, he just didn't seize the opportunity like he should have.
And so as we prepare for the return of the Bundesliga, Schürrle won't be there and it does raise the question: how will he be remembered? It's hard to argue against his achievements and honours, but in football, bloated CVs can often deceive.
The truth is actually that Schürrle had a golden year; he will forever be defined by 2014 and sadly he is just another case of a talent who hasn't lived up to the expectations weighted upon him. Will he come good again? Only time will tell.
Source : 90min