Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard today accepted undisclosed libel damages over a claim he had been in secret talks over a possible move to Real Madrid.
The England star, who is in Estonia for tonight's crucial international, brought proceedings in London's High Court over a 'world exclusive' in Sport Magazine in February.
His solicitor, Gerard Tyrrell, told Mr Justice Eady that the article was accompanied by a fax from the Park Lane Marriott Hotel which it claimed was 'confirmation of a hotel reservation in London for the Liverpool captain'.
The story stated that 'Sport Magazine might not be the sharpest tool in the box, but even we can join the dots on this one'.
It went on to say that 'when we called the Park Lane, they confirmed that a Mr Steven Gerrard was indeed booked in for an overnight stay. Remember where you read it first and watch this space'.
Reference to the article was also made in the editor's letter which stated that the fax 'purports to come from the Marriott Hotel, and confirms bookings on Monday February 5 for Liverpool and England star Steven Gerrard and one Ramon Calderon, who just happens to be president of Real Madrid'.
Mr Tyrrell said the allegations were completely untrue and without any foundation whatsoever.
The magazine had not contacted Gerrard or his agents before publication of the story, which had caused the player and his family considerable embarrassment and distress.
'The true position is that Steven Gerrard has not been involved in breach of FA rules in secret talks with Real Madrid or indeed any other football club relating to a possible move. He is more than happy at Liverpool to whom he is contracted.'
Publisher Sport Media & Strategy Ltd accepted that the allegations were false and apologised to Gerrard.
It agreed to pay him damages and his legal costs.