Fernando Torres rang up about second-hand cars for sale and listened to the Beatles in his bid to learn the lingo at Liverpool.
The Spanish striker has taken the Barclays Premier League by storm but it hasn't always been that easy off the pitch.
Torres, who signed from Atletico Madrid in 2007, has revealed the special techniques he used to practice his English.
'One of the biggest problems I faced when I first moved here was the language barrier,' writes Torres in his autobiography El Nino.
'I was told to be honest and say, "I didn't catch that, could you say it again?". But the truth is I didn't always take that advice.
'I nearly always just mumbled a "no". That's what I did whenever I was in the supermarket and was asked if I wanted "cashback". It's not something we have in Spain and I had no idea what it was. It was three months before I knew what they were talking about.
'Two people were vital during my first few days in the city: Rob and Alan, the English teachers Liverpool laid on for me.
'One of the things they used to make me do was ring people in response to adverts in the paper. You'd get on the phone and ask about a puppy for sale, or that kitten being advertised, or the price of a second-hand car.
'And I like the Beatles a lot. Listening to them has helped me to pick up the language more quickly. My favourite songs are Penny Lane and Yellow Submarine.'
England might not have the same appeal as Spain but Torres has also confessed to enjoying his days out in the north-west.
He added: 'I love Stanley Park, and I've also been to Chester, and to Formby on the coast where I like to devour a Flake 99, with raspberry sauce.'