David Beckham is no longer considered one of the best footballers on the planet, but he remains the sport's most famous exponent.
At 35, many of his peers are calling time on a game that has served them so well, yet regardless of his celebrity or financial riches, Beckham's desire to play football remains undiminished. The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder spent the week training close to where he grew up with Tottenham Hotspur, hoping for a loan move from his current club Los Angeles Galaxy.
The switch now appears unlikely as Galaxy want him back for pre-season training in February, while Tottenham want him until March. Harry Redknapp, the Spurs manager, does not think it will be worth the effort for what will amount to three or four games, but the initial attraction to the north London club goes beyond a guaranteed upturn in merchandise sales.
Technically, Beckham still boasts a range of passing and a vision unmatched by any other English player. While a decline in speed afflicts many, Beckham's game has never been about pace and he still delivers crosses to trouble the meanest defences.
His ability can still change matches and the modern penchant for a five-man midfield suits his game. Sir Alex Ferguson considered him "a little too old" to return to Old Trafford, but Redknapp was prepared to take a chance. A final swansong in the Premier League is not to be for Beckham. And how that will irritate the football obsessive who never wants to stop.