Sven Goran-Eriksson has revealed how he received a phone call from Real Madrid asking for a character reference for David Beckham ahead of his £25million move from Manchester United in 2003, reports the Daily Telegraph.
In his autobiography which was released on Tuesday, the former England manager explained how a senior Santiago Bernabeu director wanted to know if Los Blancos "would be buying a playboy or a professional".
The 65-year-old Swede, who worked closely with the former Red Devils midfielder during his time as Three Lions boss, informed Beckham's suitors they would be buying a supremely dedicated professional, but did warn them of the huge media interest that followed the Old Trafford ace around.
On June 18 it was announced that Beckham had agreed a four-year contract with Real Madrid, and following a breakdown in his relationship with ex-Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, left the Premier League champions to embark on a new adventure alongside Messrs Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Ronaldo and Raul amongst others.
Beckham enjoyed four successful years in the Spanish capital, winning La Liga in his final season as a Real Madrid player, before moving across the pond into Major League Soccer for a spell with Los Angeles Galaxy.
Eriksson also confirmed that he received a follow-up phone call from a Real Madrid official just one month after Beckham's high-profile exit from Manchester United, to thank him for his advice and confirm that both of his original statements were true.