Wayne Rooney has been forced to accept that he is no longer guaranteed a starting berth for both Manchester United and England this season.
For the last decade, the forward has been one of the first names on the team sheet for club and country but a drop in form in recent years means Rooney has had to adjust to spending the majority of matchdays on the bench rather than the pitch.
Nevertheless, that might not have been the case had the 31-year-old made a drastic career decision last summer.
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The riches of the Chinese Super League has already attracted some big European stars to make the switch to Asia over the last few seasons.
However, Rooney could have arguably become the biggest star to join the league so far as it has been revealed one particular club offered him a summer escape from Old Trafford.
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Luo Ning, who is an honorary chairman at Beijing Guoan, has spoken out about his club's attempt to sign the England captain during the last transfer window.
Rooney shut down the approach before it gathered any serious momentum, citing his confidence in his own ability and fitness to continue competing in the Premier League as the main reason for the rejection.
"We indeed made an approach for Rooney at the beginning of the season but he's informed us that he wants to stay in Manchester United," Nong told a Bejing sports radio show, as per The Mirror.
"Rooney says he'll keep playing in the Premier League as long as his health allows.
"We even met with his agent [Paul Stretford]."
Back in the summer, Rooney probably still felt pretty comfortable with his position at Man United.
Even though Jose Mourinho had replaced Louis van Gaal, there had been little indication to suggest the captain's value to the team was about to diminish.
But a tough start to the 2016/17 campaign saw the ex-Everton teenager fall out of favour - first with the Red Devils and then England under Gareth Southgate.
Cameo appearances off the bench and starts in the Europa League would shortly follow but it still wasn't what Rooney was used to.
On a more positive note, he has shown glimpses of his former self with an impressive performance against Swansea on Sunday and a brilliant goal in Turkey last week.
However, there must have been a few doubts creeping into Rooney's mind when he was initially dropped whether he had made the right call to stay at Old Trafford for another year.