Sven Goran-Eriksson revealed in his autobiography this week that he received a phone call from a senior official at Real Madrid, asking for a character reference for David Beckham ahead of his proposed transfer from Manchester United.
The former England captain has been accused over the years of using football as a vehicle to celebrity status, and there were some reservations from the Santiago Bernabeu regarding the motive behind the £25million deal.
Beckham's global reputation was one of the factors behind the breakdown of his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford. The recently retired Red Devils boss confirmed that the midfielder's off-field commitments contributed to his eventual departure.
Asked if they "would be buying a playboy or a professional", Eriksson informed Real Madrid would be signing a supremely dedicated professional, but did warn them of the huge media interest that followed Beckham.
Of course, the global icon never let himself down, even if his career will leave a greater mark in the celebrity annals than at the very top of the game he graced for 20 years.
Beckham's relentless commitment was rewarded with League titles in four different countries - England, Spain, America and France - and having turned out for some of the greatest club sides in Europe - Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and PSG - he has every reason to look back proudly on his illustrious football career.
Although he can't be compared to the greatest players of his generation, there is no doubting the floppy-haired poster boy from Leytonstone's commitment and professionalism.
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