Paris St Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti believes David Beckham could confound expectations and become a manager.
Beckham seems likely to have played his final professional game after the emotional farewell he received while captaining PSG against Brest on Saturday night. The daily managerial grind has long appeared an unlikely destination for a man of Beckham's A-list status, but Ancelotti believes it is a possibility.
"Today he finished as an old player, tomorrow he will be perhaps a young manager," the Italian told reporters after PSG's 3-1 win over Brest. "I'm proud of having coached a great player and professional who gave a beautiful image to the game of football. I respect him."
There remains an outside chance of him being involved in the Ligue 1 champions' last game of the season against Lorient next weekend, but the manner of his 82nd-minute departure at the Parc de Princes - a deafening ovation and warm embraces with numerous team-mates - suggest the former England captain has taken to the field for the final time.
Lorient's artificial pitch seems to be the deciding factor, with 38-year-old Beckham wary of the extra physical demands imposed by such a surface.
The battle for Beckham's services will quickly ensue, with offers sure to flood in from inside football and from every other commercial avenue imaginable.
The scale of Beckham's Paris send-off may have seemed at odds with the fact that he spent just four months with the club, but Ancelotti revealed it was a unanimous verdict from the team.
"It was the right thing to do to choose Beckham as captain for his last match," he added. "All the players backed the decision. Beckham will have a lovely memory of this night."
Beckham admitted the emotion of the evening will stay with him for a long time, from the distinction of being asked to lead the side to the fact that the match was also a title celebration.
"(It) was a nice way to go out - in front of my own fans, in front of a capacity crowd that were excited because we've won the league. The celebrations have been incredible, so it's a nice way to walk off the pitch,'' he told Sky Sports News. "To go out like I did tonight couldn't have been any more perfect."