Australia international Mark Milligan's hopes of a European fling to finish his career are all but over.
The 30-year-old defender or midfielder received nibbles of interest after star turns for the national team at season's end, keeping alive his long-held desire to play in England or the continent.
Since then, word has come through from his Abu Dhabi-based employers Baniyas; you're staying put.
"There was a little bit of talk, especially after the England game," he told AAP.
"Then the decision got taken out of my hands. Baniyas decided I'm not going anywhere so I'll be heading back next week."
Milligan is contracted for another year with the UAE Pro League side and is determined to lead them up the table despite a period of flux.
Their long-term coach Luis Garcia departed towards the end of last season and since then, another interim coach has been moved on.
It means Milligan will head back to the Gulf next week, determined to maintain his professional standards amidst difficult circumstances - a hallmark of his career.
"It was a condition of me going over, for Ange (Australia coach Ange Postecoglou) and the Socceroos and myself, that I wasn't heading over there to end my career," he said.
"It was another opportunity that I wanted to take and one a long time in the works.
"It's not a bad competition, there's a lot of strong teams and strong players.
"This season is a big deal because the winner qualifies for the Club World Cup as they're having it there next year."
Milligan is holidaying in Australia, taking his sun-drenched family to the snow before heading back to sweltering heat.
He's stayed in touch with the European championship, saying it was hard not to be inspired by the feats of minnow footballing nations Iceland and Wales.
But he doesn't see their stories as comparable to the Socceroos, given Australia's progression under Ange Postecoglou to become continental champions.
"If you look at where we are in Asia, we should go in to tournaments now with a lot of confidence," he said.
"We don't go in thinking we're the underdogs, we go in thinking we can win every game.
"(We've just had) three good hit-outs leading into a very difficult time with World Cup qualifiers coming up.
"We've got a very strong group but the progression we've made in the last two years is outstanding ... the sky's the limit."