Florent Indalecio's remarkable journey so far was denied the fairytale ending at Newcastle United.
It was only two years ago that the future Magpie gave up on his football dream and moved halfway across the world to become a full-time bricklayer.
Lockdown and a catch-up with former team-mate Allan Saint-Maximin led Indalecio to pack up his life again and try once more on Tyneside.
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An impressive trial led to a one-year contract, and such was Indalecio's delight that he joyfully declared he would play for the Magpies for free in an interview after signing.
The attacker became a regular for the under-23s, but was ultimately one of 15 youth players to be released this summer.
It is the latest setback in an extraordinary career already punctuated by a health scare and rejections, but it is not one that has killed the 23-year-old's renewed ambition.
Indalecio told ChronicleLive: "I want to thank all the staff who taught me a lot at Newcastle.
"I am sure that their advice will help me for my future years as a footballer.
"My goal now is to stay in England and find a club where I will have the playing time to flourish."
Indalecio was earmarked as an exciting prospect during his early years at Saint-Etienne, but his attitude and behaviour led to his release at the age of 15.
The French prospect's hopes of finding another professional club were then dashed by a devastating diagnosis.
Doctors discovered a tumour in Indalecio's knee, and major surgery and 18 months' of rehabiliation were required before his latest round of trial - this time in the USA.
These proved unsuccessful, and it was in April 2019 that the aspiring footballer decided to start afresh in Australia.
The Frenchman juggled gruelling construction shifts while playing for fun with fifth-tier outfit Fraser Park FC in Sydney. But Indalecio was only able to make eight appearances before lockdown halted life across the globe last year.
It was at this point that Indalecio was convinced by his friend Saint-Maximin to try and secure a professional contract with a club in England. However, the pair did not discuss the prospect of a trial at Newcastle with the Magpies' number 10 secretly pulling strings behind the scenes.
Indalecio said: "Nothing was promised to me until I was on trial at Newcastle.
"On the contrary, I had everything to prove, and I had to show a lot more than the others."
Saint-Maximin was again to thank for Indalecio's introduction to Newcastle fans. The French winger shared a clip of the trialist's overhead kick from a corner which quickly gained traction on social media.
Indalecio said: "This goal was a trigger for me.
"I got so many messages from Newcastle fans telling me to keep working hard to get a contract. It gave me a lot of motivation."
That short-term deal eventually came in October, and for Indalecio it was an 'opportunity not to be missed'.
The new signing's story and connection with Saint-Maximin made national headlines in both Australia and the UK. It was a friendship which helped yield a footballing lifeline, but one that Indalecio admits cast a shadow over his own efforts.
He explained: "I have made many ties with many players on the team like Adam Wilson, Henri Saivet, Mo Sangare, Rolando Aarons and many more.
"It is never easy to make a name for yourself when you have never proved at a high level, and even more so when you are the friend of Allan Saint-Maximin.
"We played for the same club, but it made me work hard relentlessly to earn playtime with the U23s this season."
Indalecio's appearances in black-and-white came at U23 level, and it was a jump in quality that the attacking midfielder had to quickly adapt to.
He said: "It is an excellent level with a lot of talented young footballers. English football is different from other countries because there is a lot more intensity and rhythm.
"You have to know how to play very quickly from the front while keeping this technical quality on the ball.
"I've always been a number 10 in my past but learned how to play 11 or 9, and I think it's always good to be a versatile player."
Indalecio made 10 appearances for United's second-string, including a late EFL Trophy cameo in the defeat at Bolton in November.
The 23-year-old's release was only announced earlier this month, but the attacker has known for months that his future lay elsewhere.
It is another setback in a fledgling career already littered with them, but the former bricklayer is adamant he bears no grudges about his time on Tyneside.
He said: "I interviewed in February and staff told me that Newcastle would not renew my contract.
"My reaction was good, and I told them they could count on me to give my best until the end of the season despite their decisions.
"I have absolutely no regrets over this season."
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Indalecio's latest Instagram posts has revealed the attacker is back in training in his native France while plotting his next move.
It is unfortunately a familiar scenario for the former United prospect, but after a journey which has already taken in Australia, England and the USA, where next for Indalecio?
He added: "My agent is in discussions with several clubs in England.
"I said that I would play in the Premier League or the Championship one day. Still, I do not close any door to any championship."