By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer
Real Madrid are flirting with England captain David Beckham - so expect it to become a full-blown embrace in the coming months.
Words from the Bernabeu are usually followed by actions, particularly when the whispers hint at the pursuit of the world's most glamorous and high-profile footballers.
Real president Florentino Perez once stated: "The best players must play for Real Madrid."
And Beckham is an obvious target for Real's affections.
Perez has made it his business to sign the cream of football's crop - even against all odds.
Few felt Real would prise Luis Figo away from fierce rivals Barcelona, but the deal was done.
And even Italian giants Juventus and Inter Milan were unable to resist overtures from Real when they came calling for Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo.
They both attempted to deny the inevitable, but in the end the lure of Real, plus the glitzy image attached to this legendary club, was impossible to defy.
Real offer the lavish lifestyle of fashionable Madrid, and will provide all the trimmings in their pursuit of success.
When Ronaldo arrived to sign last summer, he flew in on a luxury private jet and ensured the Government made a military airport available so the Brazilian superstar could make his way in peace.
Madrid may well prove even more popular with Mrs Beckham, namely Posh Spice.
The best players must play for Real Madrid
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez
Victoria Beckham may find the lifestyle of Madrid more to her liking than Manchester.
Spain may suit the profile she desires more than Britain, where her career as a pop star is greeted with a mixture of mild amusement and contempt rather than respect.
There may be an even more intriguing strand to the question of whether Beckham will eventually make his way to Europe's most decorated club.
And that is, would Manchester United fight too hard to resist a Real bid if it really did edge up towards the £25m mark?
Sir Alex Ferguson may actually regard that as sound financial business instead of a fatal wound to his squad.
He is intent on re-shaping his squad, and may feel the money he receives for Beckham might freshen up Manchester United.
The reality is that once Real start talking targets they usually have their man firmly in the sights - and there seems little doubt they aim to land Beckham.