Kieran Trippier’s summer move to Atletico Madrid provoked plenty of amusement from some circles.
This was, after all, the same Kieran Trippier who had suffered the mother of all World Cup hangovers last season, becoming a punchline and a scapegoat at Spurs.
But this week the Bury Beckham indeed became the first Englishman to play a Champions League game for a Spanish team since Beckham himself.
And he flourished.
Trippier, with his Spurs nightmare now fading into the distance behind him, has become an instant hit in Madrid.
He was officially the most creative player in the Champions League this week, creating seven chances including the corner for Atletico’s late equaliser against Juventus.
“Since I came here, the mentality of the group, the coaching staff, Cholo [Simeone]: it’s immense,” he said afterwards.
“When we went 2-0 down we knew we’d get opportunities.
“We kept on going and going. And the crowd were fantastic as well – I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
More than enough of a sly dig at Spurs in there and far from the only one Trippier has made since his exit.
Nearly four months on from that final defeat to Liverpool, it was fitting his fresh start with Atletico came in the very same stadium.
And his new lease of life begs the question; why don’t more English players take the plunge abroad?
It’s staggering that Trippier is the first Englishman in 12 years to play at the highest level for a Spanish club.
The Bundesliga is providing the perfect platform for young, hungry British stars seeking more minutes.
But the continent equally offers the same opportunities to those who have lost their way a bit.
Chris Smalling should be commended too for swapping Manchester for Rome this summer, but these moves are still incredibly rare.
Away from the toxicity of the British press and social media, maligned English players can re-focus, go back to basics.
After his first suspect display in over two years at Liverpool this week, Andy Robertson opted to deactivate his Twitter account to escape the wrath of a few despicable trolls.
That’s just the way it is.
Unlike Atletico full backs before him, Trippier is offering Simeone’s side a reliable attacking outlet from that position.
He looks to have rediscovered his delivery again after a case of the yips during his final few months at Spurs.
The 29-year-old already has two assists in all competitions and has struck up an instant understanding with Koke and Joao Felix.
He has also claimed that defensively ‘there is no better person to work under’ than Simeone.
So who else would benefit from a change of scenery?
Would Fabian Delph soar in Spain? Would Danny Welbeck fire in France? Would Danny Rose grow in Germany?
Rather than making seemingly inevitable moves to the likes of Everton and Watford, foreign clubs offer an almost blank slate while invariably still competing at the highest level.
Trippier and Smalling should be praised, let’s just hope more follow in their footsteps.