David Beckham, the former England football captain, is taking legal action over allegations that he slept with a prostitute.
Beckham is suing a US magazine, In Touch, which published the claims by Irma Nici, 26.
Miss Nici, who bills herself on her website as "the world's most sought-after call girl" and charged up to $10,000 per night for her services, alleges that she slept with Beckham in a New York hotel room in August 2007, shortly after he joined the LA Galaxy team, and at Claridge's hotel in London a month later.
She told the magazine: "We had great chemistry. I've seen quite a few high-profile people. He isn't full of himself. He's a really nice guy."
Miss Nici claimed that she enlisted a second woman to join the New York encounter, supplied by Kristin Davis, the madam who ran one of the city's biggest escort agencies and became notorious in 2008 for her role in the downfall Eliot Spitzer, the New York governor who resigned over his use of prostitutes.
A spokesman for Beckham, who is married to the former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and has three children, described the allegations as "utter nonsense".
"The allegations that have been made are completely untrue and totally ridiculous, as the magazine was clearly told before publication. Sadly, we live in a world where a magazine can print lies and believe they can get away with it. We are taking legal action against the magazine," the spokesman said.
Sources close to the footballer said there were clear factual inaccuracies in Miss Nici's story, including the claim that she visited him at the Le Parker Meridien hotel in Manhattan. Records prove that Beckham and his LA Galaxy team-mates stayed at the Waldorf Astoria over the days in question, the sources said.
Two of Beckham's former England team-mates, Wayne Rooney and Peter Crouch, have faced allegations of dalliances with prostitutes in recent weeks.
In 2004, a Sunday newspaper printed allegations that Beckham had an affair with his personal assistant, Rebecca Loos. He denied the claim.
It was unclear why Miss Nici had waited three years to go public with her claims. However, the allegations are unfortunately timed for Beckham. This weekend he meets with Sepp Blatter, the Fifa boss, as the figurehead for England's 2018 World Cup bid. The meeting in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad represents England's last push for the big prize.
The allegations could also potentially damage "Brand Beckham". The sportsman tops football's rich list, with the most recent estimate placing his fortune at £125 million. He has multi-million pound sponsorship deals with Adidas, Giorgio Armani and Motorola.
His 11-year marriage to Victoria is also a marketable commodity. The couple have a his-and-hers fragrance line, the latest product of which is called Intimately Yours and is "designed to capture the essence of David and Victoria Beckham's passion and the power of their relationship". The couple currently feature in an advert that shows them enjoying a passionate encounter in a lift.