Madonna once adopted the pseudonym MELISSA while she was dating baseball star JOSE CONSECO - so none of his teammates knew who she was when she telephoned him at the club house.

The pop superstar, who has recently adopted the name ESTHER for her Kabbalah studies, used to call the Cuban sports star daily when he was at the height of his career, pretending to be a female pal called Melissa.

Conseco, who writes about his brief romance with Madonna in his controversial new autobiography JUICED, admits his fling with the MATERIAL GIRL was a badly-kept secret.

He says, "Her codename at the time was either M or Melissa, so it wasn't really a big secret. When she called, the clubhouse kids or the clubhouse manager would say, 'Jose, it's Madonna on the phone.' I was like 'Shhh, be quiet, nobody's supposed to know that.'"

Conseco believes Madonna was smitten with him from the beginning, even though he insists they never had sex.

He recalls, "I sent her a few photographs. She wanted to know what I looked like under my baseball uniform.

"The team photographer, he was a good friend of mine, and I told him exactly what it was about and I took some very provocative pictures and sent them to Madonna, so if any of them surface you know where they came from."

Conseco, who has stirred up a storm of controversy with confessions of steroid use in baseball in his tell-all, accepts that many people find his Madonna confessions hard to believe.

But he says, "She'll say, 'Jose has told the truth completely.'"

11/03/2005 09:32