"I was training with world stars every day but playing games is also important. I learned a lot from these players but I just turned 19 so I think I had to take that step to develop myself. It was really incredible. I don't think you will see such a good team together again."
Xavi Simons' explanation for snubbing a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain in favour of joining Eredivisie outfit PSV last summer was a fair one. He was touted as a future star after leaving Barcelona to head for Parc des Princes in 2019, but only made 11 senior appearances over the next three years.
While Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were all still on the books, Simons was destined to remain on the fringes of the action at PSG. He made a brave decision by moving back to his homeland, and it paid off handsomely.
Simons was PSV's standout player as they landed the Johan Cruyff Shield and Dutch Cup last season, while also finishing second in the Eredivisie. The 20-year-old managed to win a share of the Golden Boot in the league - no mean feat considering he played mainly on the left-wing - and gave defenders across the Netherlands nightmares with his pace and trickery, scoring 22 goals and providing 12 assists in all competitions while also making his first full international appearances.
It is clear that PSG let a diamond slip through their grasp - but they have a unique opportunity to rectify their mistake. According to Fabrizio Romano, a buy-back clause was inserted into Simons' contract at PSV which allows the Ligue 1 champions to re-sign him for just €6 million.
They will have to move quickly, though, as the clause in question will only be active for the month of July. Simons is currently on a well-deserved holiday after a long campaign, but he won't be short of options when he reports back to Eindhoven.