Zinedine Zidane interrupted his hunt for a top job to give the glowing reference that secured his former Real Madrid assistant a first head coaching role in Switzerland.
David Bettoni has been appointed boss of Sion, the club where Mario Balotelli plays, and that may mean Zidane will be looking for a new second-in-command when he returns to football.
Zidane recently has made no secret of his eagerness to get back into work, having walked away from the Madrid hotseat after the 2020-21 season.
A post with a big club likely awaits the France great, while Bettoni begins his life as a head coach with a ringing endorsement from his friend and former boss.
Bettoni has been appointed on a short-term basis initially, taking the job until the end of the season.
Sion president Christian Constantin told newspaper Le Matin he spent over an hour on the telephone with Zidane, joking that was more than former French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet was willing to give of his time.
Le Graet caused uproar in France at the start of the year when he said he would not even have answered his phone to Zidane if he had called to enquire about the France job. That was after Zidane saw his hopes of being made boss of Les Bleus scuppered by Didier Deschamps signing up for another World Cup cycle.
Constantin said of his chat with Zidane: "It made me very happy to be able to talk about football with him for an hour and a quarter. He had a much better reception with me than with Le Graet!
"He told me how loyal David had been to him, that he had never sought to find fault with him in his mission. Without him, he told me again, I would never have succeeded in doing what I achieved at Real during all his years."
??????????́ ????????— FC Sion (@FCSion) March 6, 2023
Le FC Sion annonce l’arrivée de David Bettoni comme entraîneur principal de la première équipe jusqu'au terme de la saison.
Le communiqué #FCSion #TousEnsemble
Sion sit ninth in the 10-team Swiss Super League and have not won a game in the competition since October.
Bettoni, who first got to know Zidane when they were teenagers at Cannes, initially joined Madrid when Zidane was in charge of the youth side, before stepping up and helping his compatriot lead Los Blancos to three Champions League triumphs.