Middlesbrough midfielder Adam Johnson has revealed his January link with Real Madrid made him subject of an ongoing training ground joke.
The 22-year-old was one of many English-based players linked with the Spanish giants during the January transfer window, while former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos was in charge at the Bernabeu.
Such a move never materialised for the winger, causing his team-mates to laugh off the speculation with Johnson the butt of many jokes.
He told The Mirror: "My team-mate Andrew Taylor called me out of the blue. I was in the car and he said 'it's all over Sky, are you going?'
"I said: 'Nah, I honestly know nothing about it'.
"Then I arrived at the training ground and was getting all sorts of stick. They were calling me El this and El that and all the Real Madrid players' names.
"And they were saying: 'Can we come and clean your car?' They were all saying they wanted to move there with me and do my odd jobs. It was just a bit of friendly banter.
"I just got my head down. But I have to admit it was very flattering."
Johnson is highly regarded at the Riverside but is in the final year of his contract while Premier League clubs, as well as a number of European outfits, are monitoring his situation.
The Sunderland-born winger is not one to be affected by speculation however, and insists he will continue to work hard while his future unfolds.
He said: "I know there is speculation about me but as long as I am playing well, everything will take care of itself."