Beckham close to joining AC Milan
MILAN, Italy (AP) -- AC Milan is close to signing David Beckham in a loan deal that would allow the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder and former England captain to play in Italy for a few months starting in January.
"We're discussing it with his agent,'' Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said Wednesday on the club's Web site.
With the Major League Soccer season in the United States nearly over, Beckham is eager to join another club in Europe so he can remain in shape and keep his place on England's team for World Cup qualifying. England coach Fabio Capello has said he will not pick players who are not active.
"We'll sign him for a few months and then he'll go back. Beckham has chosen Milan,'' Galliani said at Malpensa airport before flying to a UEFA Cup match. "Our team is very competitive and will remain as is, but Beckham is something different and intriguing.''
Beckham's spokesman, Simon Oliveira of 19 Management in Los Angeles, acknowledged talks are taking place for a short-term loan but "nothing is confirmed at present.''
"David's intention is to maintain his fitness and keep himself eligible for England's selection,'' he said. "He very much remains a Galaxy player and he would be in Los Angeles for the start of the 2009 MLS season.''
While many Italian clubs are struggling with attendance, Galliani noted that 65,000 fans showed for Milan's home game Sunday with Sampdoria.
"Beckham will bring more fans,'' Galliani said.
Beckham would join a squad at Milan that features Brazil standouts Ronaldinho, Kaka and Alexandre Pato, plus Italy's Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso.
"For me it will be a pleasure,'' Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "Beckham is a serious athlete, a great professional. If he'll be available for four months with us, we'll be very happy.''
Ancelotti also indicated Beckham could play for Milan in the UEFA Cup.
"If he becomes available for Milan, evidently it will be for both in Italy and in Europe,'' the coach added.
During the MLS offseason last year, Beckham trained with English Premier League side Arsenal to keep fit but did not play for the club.
Beckham starred for Manchester United and Real Madrid before joining the Galaxy in January 2007 in a multimillion-dollar five-year deal.
He quit as England captain after the 2006 World Cup and was dropped from the team by Steve McLaren. He was reinstated to the national team and has been used sparingly by England coach Fabio Capello. He appeared as a late substitute in all four World Cup qualifying victories against Andorra, Croatia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
Beckham now has 107 England appearances, one short of the record 108 for a nongaolkeeper by 1966 World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore. Goalkeeper Peter Shilton holds the England record of 125.
England probably has an exhibition game lined up against Spain up for February, plus another at home against Slovakia in March, followed by World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine in April, and Kazakhstan and Andorra in June.