When Wilfred Bouma played in a Uefa Champions League semi-final in the San Siro Stadium last May, his dream was that his next cup tie would be in the final in Istanbul.
But PSV Eindhoven lost narrowly to AC Milan, Liverpool won the final in outrageous circumstances and Bouma's next taste of cup competition will be for Aston Villa away to Wycombe Wanderers in the Carling Cup tonight.
As contrasts go, this is pretty stark, but he does not see that way - or, at least, is not saying so. It is, he remarks, a match that needs to be won, just as the match away to AC Milan was one that PSV needed to win.
"Everything is important in English football and you don't underestimate anything," Bouma said. "It is true, my most recent cup tie was a Champions League semi-final but I knew when I came to Aston Villa all about the Carling Cup. This is a good competition and a good opportunity for Aston Villa.
"In Holland we always follow everything that happens in England, the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, the Premiership. The Carling Cup was called the Worthington Cup when I was growing up in Holland, so I know all about it.
"You go into every match wanting to win and believing you can win, whatever competition it is in. Champions League or Carling Cup, you have the same attitude. That is how I will look at the game [against Wycombe]."
Bouma also played in the 2004 European Championships for Holland in Portugual and the trip to The Causeway will, if he plays, provide him with a new experience.
Bouma is expected to be fit despite being substituted late in the match at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. "My strength was a bit gone. I hope to be OK," he said. Villa drew 1-1 and Bouma gave away a penalty in the first half.
Fortunately for Bouma, Thomas Sorensen saved Jermaine Defoe's penalty - but there was still a feeling of unjustice.
"It [the handball] was not on purpose," Bouma said. "If it did touch my arm, then maybe it is a penalty but I thought it came here [ pointing to his shoulder]. I think it was a bad decision. I was unlucky but then I was lucky when Thomas saved the penalty. I was really relieved. I will buy Thomas a beer, for sure."
Bouma is not the only one who should reward Sorensen, for the Villa goalkeeper was superlative. It was a match that Villa should have won but the draw was at least an improvement on the ghastly 4-0 defeat away to West Ham United the previous Monday evening.
"We had more chances than Tottenham but a couple of times in the second half we were really under pressure," Bouma said. "We bounced back well from the West Ham game. We can work on this."
It has been an interesting start to Bouma's career with Villa but his words and demeanour suggest that he is here for the long haul.
"I am settling in," he said. "Hopefully, we can find a house and settle in very quickly because that is important. All the guys are very helpful."
But if he wants to appreciate what English football is really all about, Aston Villa against Tottenham Hotspur will be less of a gauge than Wycombe Wanderers against Aston Villa.