James Troisi is proof that life as a professional footballer doesn't always run smoothly.
Since his last A-League match for Melbourne Victory two years ago, the precociously-talented attacker has scored Australia's winner at the Asian Cup, played his club football in three different regions and left each one for very different reasons.
Now there's nowhere he'd rather be than back at Victory under coach Kevin Muscat, preparing for the season ahead.
Troisi moved abroad as a teenager but made his name after returning to Melbourne.
Brought to the club by Ange Postecoglou in 2013, Troisi was one of the last men standing as Victory embarked on a taxing dual A-League and Asian Champions League campaign.
Top-scoring for the club in both competitions under Muscat after Postecoglou left for the national team job, Troisi set off for greater challenges.
He found them.
"I've had to put up and deal with a lot of things do with football and outside of football my entire career," he said.
"Things people don't really see, that we have to go through as footballers. It is hard at times."
The 28-year-old enjoyed a solid year in Belgium before taking up a lucrative deal with Saudi giants Al Ittihad.
Four managers, with different ideas and favourites, in four months eventually pushed Troisi out the door and to the Chinese Super League.
After his new paymasters didn't take well to an ankle injury, Troisi said he had his heart set on returning to the last place it all worked.
And to the last coach for whom it all clicked.
Troisi said Muscat had been an ever-present in his life, even after leaving the club.
"We have kept in touch since I left, every couple of months he'd call me or send me a text," he said.
"He's been fantastic. He was calling me pretty much every second day in China."
The number one lesson Troisi has learned; in football, relationships are everything.
"The coach has to want you. And Musky made that quite clear," he said.
"It made it an easy decision (to return) and we're getting along very well."
Now Troisi's Victory journey will continue and he hopes he can battle back into Postecoglou's plans as well.
The South Australian has just one competitive Socceroos start since the Asian Cup and wants a return into the Australian squad.
"I've been a big part of the Socceroos and what we've achieved and what we want to do," he said.
"I'm confident my football will speak for itself and I'll be back in a couple of months.
"But first and foremost it's club football. So Victory first."