For Jordan Henderson, a European Cup-winning Liverpool captain, it could have all been so very different.
It was back in 2012 when the young midfielder was finding it tough to put his stamp on the club, struggling to justify the £16m outlay paid to take him from his boyhood Sunderland a year earlier.
Incoming manager Brendan Rodgers remained unconvinced and wanted to use Henderson as bait to lure Clint Dempsey from Fulham.
Rodgers, freshly appointed at Anfield, was keen to reshape the squad he inherited and eyed the goals American international Dempsey was supplying to the Cottagers.
With money tight and elite talent out of reach, Rodgers viewed Henderson as an expendable commodity, but the player himself refused to yield, staying put in an attempt to win over his doubters.
“When the manager told me I could go to Fulham it was a bit of a shock at first,” said Henderson back in November 2012.
“What he said came as a sort of bolt from the blue. I think the Dempsey situation had stalled, but it wasn’t really of interest to me.
“I worked really had to come to a club like Liverpool and I didn’t want to leave in a hurry. I want to stay at Liverpool for as long as I can.
“I want to keep fighting for my place and I told the manager that. I said I wanted to stay and keep fighting because I believe I can get into the team.”
They were not empty words.
Henderson fought and fought and fought some more, eventually becoming a regular fixture in the side under Rodgers.
His boundless energy and intelligent passing were key elements for a side that would go so close to the Holy Grail of a Premier League title in 2014.
To this day, some still lament his late sending off during the 3-2 win over Manchester City in the closing weeks. The suspension ended his campaign and forced him to watch from the sidelines as the Reds’ title charge crumbled in devastating fashion.
His stature inside of the club continued to grow considerably, to the point where he was the designated man to take the armband off the iconic Steven Gerrard upon his departure in the summer of 2015.
The England international is the spokesman for his team-mates, delivering timely, classy – and often poignant – messages of support surrounding the serious off-the-field issues the club involve themselves in.
And as the Liverpool skipper hoisted the biggest trophy in club football high into the Spanish sky on June 1, Henderson might have been forgiven for casting his mind back to when it appeared his days were numbered at Anfield.
It would have been the furthest from his thoughts, though. His stock has never been higher and those dark days of 2012 are long forgotten in the Henderson household.
Divock Origi is another who found himself in a similar quandary to Henderson’s as recently as 12 months ago.
Hawked around the market, with a price tag on his head, it looked as though the Belgian’s Anfield exit was a mere formality last year.
Wolves were interested and Valencia made enquiries, but the Reds would retain him for the season when the transfer window closed in August.
As a result, Origi, for a few months, became the forgotten man, being forced to wait until November for his first appearance of the season.
A second-half cameo in a 2-0 defeat to Red Star Belgrade on November 6 was an inauspicious return to the fold and he would be forced to wait for nearly another month before his second substitute appearance was earned.
This time, however, Origi made sure he was the story, heading home a last-gasp winner to ensure three points in the Merseyside derby.
Another memorable winner against Newcastle followed before the former Lille man took centre stage with a brace in the most remarkable of comebacks against Barcelona in May.
Having already etched his name into Liverpool folklore, Origi cemented his status with a sweetly-struck finish against Spurs to help Klopp usher in his first piece of silverware as manager at the fourth time of asking.
The sight of Origi wheeling away as Liverpool’s Champions League final winner was an image few – if any – would have thought possible at the start of the season.
And while Henderson steered his Reds career around through hard work and dedication to his craft over a number of years, Origi’s 180 was sudden, sharp and dramatic.
As both Origi and Henderson soaked up the deserved adulation of 750,000 Reds fans on the city streets just three weeks ago, their respective Anfield troubles were galaxies away.
For Henderson, the captain, and Origi, the match-winner, events in Madrid have secured their status as club legends.
It could have all be so very different.