Italian giants AC Milan on Wednesday confirmed that former England captain David Beckham will join the club on loan during the January transfer window.
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti and vice-president Adriano Galliani revealed the news at Milan’s Malpensa airport before the team set off to the Netherlands, where they will play Heerenveen in the UEFA Cup on Thursday.
Beckham, who plays for LA Galaxy, will join the seven-time European champions during the off-season break in the MLS.
“For me it will be a pleasure, Beckham is a serious athlete, a great professional,” said Ancelotti.
“If he is available for four months for us we will be very pleased.”
Galliani confirmed contact had been made with Beckham’s agent and that a loan deal is in the offing.
“Will he come? Yes, I’m sure of that. He will stay at Milan on loan for several months, we’re speaking with his agent,” he said.
“He will join us for a few months and then leave. Beckham has chosen Milan. Our team is ultra-competitive and will stay that way, but Beckham gives us other options.”
Milan seem to have taken over from Real Madrid in opting for a policy of signing ‘galacticos’ in recent seasons, except that whereas the Spanish champions signed the likes of Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Beckham in their prime, Milan are picking up their global stars once past their best.
In the last two years Milan have signed Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Andrei Shevchenko and now Beckham, but all four players seem to be long past their best.
Ronaldo looked overweight and unfit during his brief and unsuccessful time in Milan, Shevchenko is a shadow of the player who left Milan for Chelsea just over two years ago and Ronaldinho is not the same player who was twice crowned world player of the year, although he is showing glimpses of his old self at times.
Beckham is 33 now and was considered to be easing himself into retirement by heading over to the MLS in the United States a little over a year ago.
But Galliani insists he is not just a marketing signing. “Milan don’t sign figurines, Milan are very proud of what we are doing.
“We’re the only team going against the grain (of falling attendances in Italy): fans are coming to the stadium to watch Milan.
“It’s not by chance that 65,000 people came to watch Milan-Sampdoria. If 65,000 people come to the stadium it’s because Milan are a great product.
“With respect to those 65,000, Beckham will more likely bring one more fan to the club than one less.”
Beckham cannot officially join Milan until the transfer window reopens on January 1.
Milan currently sit sixth in Serie A but are only one victory behind cross city rivals, champions and league leaders Inter.
The rossonero started the season badly, losing their first two scudetto encounters, but have since gone seven games unbeaten in all competitions.
Attendances are generally poor in Italy unless two top teams are playing but Milan can attract 50,000-60,000 crowds even for matches against small teams, a