Diego Costa was supposed to be the addition to the Spain squad which would continue their evolution as the best international side in the world.
Instead he finds himself as a footnote at the end of a golden era, one which ended with World Cup elimination only two games in.
Costa claimed after Spain's loss to Chile that his future is 'more at Chelsea than Atletico', and is widely expected to be playing in the Premier League next season.
Fans of the Blues should not judge his poor displays for Spain however, especially after his recent end of season fitness struggles.
One who backs that view is Brazilian legend Zico, a former World Cup star himself.
He told The Guardian: "I felt sorry for Diego Costa. He was never the player for the Spanish system and David Villa, if fitter, would have been more useful."
He went onto criticise the Spanish approach of trying to pass the ball into the net, the tiki-taka model based on Barcelona.
This is not an style Costa is used to at La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, whose approach remains cultured but is more direct.
A transition to Chelsea is unlikely to give Costa a similar struggle in terms of adapting in style, but as Fernando Torres will explain - the pressure will be relentless.
With an earlier than expected summer vacation, Costa can hope to pitch up at Chelsea sooner rather than later - but crucially get more time to get himself back up to full fitness.