For most of Robin van Persie's eight years at Arsenal, success has stayed frustratingly out of reach.
The team has looked poised for glory, only to lose key players and take a step backwards.
At 29, time is not Van Persie's friend and his desire to win at the club - cited in his statement on Wednesday - is completely understandable.
He has not submitted a transfer request, nor has he gone on a three-month golf break in Argentina. He has merely stated that he will not renew his contract, which is entirely his right.
But what does he hope to achieve by leaving? Win trophies, he says.
Of course, it is entirely possible that 'trophies' is a byword for 'money'.
The teams that win things also pay the most. So why not say you're motivated by silverware, and if there happens to be a £250,000-a-week contract in it - well, that's just a nice perk.
I don't know what's going on in Van Persie's head, and you'd be an idiot to say money plays no part at all - but I believe he is motivated primarily by a genuine desire to put some pots on his mantelpiece before he retires.
Winning offers validation; 'proof' that you can perform when it matters.
We confuse players with the teams they represent. Van Persie could be remembered in the same way as his Arsenal team - exciting and talented, but falling some way short of true greatness.
Somehow, playing for a successful team - in any capacity - insulates you from criticism.
Look at the way we mock Alan Shearer, who lifted just a single trophy in his brilliant career.
He rejected Manchester United, preferring instead to join his hometown club with whom he won nothing.
Shearer is one of the greatest players of his generation (of any nationality), yet there is a large consituency of people who will remember him as the guy who turned down a decade of baubles.
During Euro 2012, when he rather unwisely said Mario Balotelli had "done nothing in the game yet", critics gleefully pointed out the Italian's eight major honours including a Champions League, a Premier League and three Serie A titles.
Shearer's criticism was clumsy - but not entirely wrong.
Success should be measured by more than trophies. Has Balotelli performed consistently over a sustained period? Has he proven himself a good team-mate? Has he refrained from letting himself and his colleagues down? Clearly not.
That was Shearer's point. And being a truculent, mercurial presence for successful teams does not make Balotelli better than Shearer, however many open-top bus parades he has been on.
What if Shearer had joined Manchester United instead of, say, Andy Cole?
He would have won things, for sure. But they won things anyway. Shearer's impact at Old Trafford could never compare with his importance to Newcastle, where he is still revered.
This European trophy-worship is not shared across the pond, where a different attitude prevails.
Americans would lionise Shearer for his loyalty and consistency - they would judge him on his extraordinary ability and not the number of championships. Nobody judges Peyton Manning's time as Indiananpolis Colts quarterback a failure because he won 'only' one Super Bowl in 13 years.
Two years ago, when NBA star LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami, he was widely criticised.
Not just for abandoning an historically ill-starred team, but for shunning his responsibilities as a top player.
If he had won a title at Cleveland - and he came close - it would have been his team, his triumph.
Instead he went to play with fellow stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh - it was considered a cop-out, a betrayal of his duty to prove himself.
He was meant to be a leader, and instead he took the easy option.
That is how I will feel if Van Persie joins Manchester City (current 1/2 favourites to sign him at the time of writing).
Yes, he'll win, but how much satisfaction will he be able to take? City are already Premier League champions. And they will almost certainly be champions again, with or without him.
Would Van Persie make City better? Yes, a little bit.
But he will not be the captain, he will not be a leader, he will not be the man his team-mates, manager and supporters rely on to carry the load.
He will be just another part of an ensemble - like Samir Nasri at City, or Cesc Fabregas at Barcelona.
Where's the glory in that?