Coming through the ranks at Real Madrid has never been easy.
Especially not in a modern era where the club have made a name for themselves through their ruthless and extravagant transfer business.
Sergio Reguilon might have thought he was coming to prominence just in time to take ball from Marcelo and run with it, but the club had other plans. The arrival of Ferland Mendy, a world class left-back in his own right, pushed him further down the pecking order, and he was forced to find an alternative route to the top.
The best players persevere, however, and that's exactly what Reguilon did. 2020 has seen him emerge as one of the best on the planet in his position, and he didn't even need a look-in at the Bernabeu to do it.
Just why Real never gave him a meaningful crack at the whip is a mystery. He only ever managed 21 starts for the club he had served since he was eight years old, and every time he showed signs of building momentum, he had the rug pulled out from under him.
It was no wonder he was so keen to join Sevilla on loan in 2019, a club where he was assured he would have every chance to show what he can do.
"Reguilon has grown at a barbaric rate."- Julen Lopetegui
He would have plenty, as it transpired, but it only really took one for him to announce himself to the watching world. His memorable debut against Espanyol, inspiring a 3-1 win with a goal and an assist, set the stage for a defiant, and belated, rise to stardom.
His fiery, tenacious spirit meant he fit Sevilla like a hand fits a glove. He never shied away from a tackle, and was booked 10 times over the course of a stellar individual season which helped Julen Lopetegui's team to a fourth-placed finish and another Europa League title.
Yet still Real were reluctant to take a chance. Secure with Mendy and Marcelo as their options, they put him up for sale upon his return, yet that only solidified Reguilon's desire to show his boyhood club that they were missing out on something special.
And thank God they did, says Jose Mourinho.
Since arriving at Tottenham, Reguilon has proven to be one of the most well-rounded full-backs on the planet. We are seeing that refined with every passing week as he matches his explosive energy and attacking talent with an ever-growing maturity. He's grown into one of the better two-way full-backs around under the guidance of Mourinho, even winning a ham off his boss for keeping Riyad Mahrez quiet in a win over Man City.
He has an end product too. You only have to look as far as his cross for Gerard Moreno's Nations League equaliser against Switzerland to see how easy he is beginning to make football look.
By 90min's World Class scoring metric, Reguilon ticks every box really. In addition to having all the natural talent a player could wish for, he's had a solid 12 months, cutting the mustard in two of the best leagues in the world, has won a European trophy, and has come up with some big moments both on the club and international stage.
He played his part in an excellent season for Sevilla, lifting continental gold at the end of it, and looks for all the world as if he will be involved in another memorable one for Tottenham this time around. At the time of writing, Spurs are top of the Premier League, with the best defensive record in the league, and he has been a fixture in the side.
Like another one or two on our list of world class left-backs, we're yet to see the sort of prolonged consistency from Reguilon that could set him apart as a true great. At just 23, though, he has made a hell of a start.
For a player who had to wait so long for his chance, it comes as a relief to see him finally getting the recognition his prodigious talent deserves.
Yet you get the sense he is only just now putting his foot on the accelerator.