Galaxy may loan Beckham to AC Milan

  • By Grahame L. Jones Los Angeles Times
  • Wednesday, October 22, 2008 11:15pm
  • SportsSports

LOS ANGELES — David Beckham, barely 16 months into a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy, will probably be loaned to Italian soccer powerhouse AC Milan for several months starting in January.

The primary purpose of such a loan would be to allow the 33-year-old midfielder to remain fit during the Major League Soccer off-season and thus retain his place on the England national soccer team.

A Beckham spokesman denied the possibility that the loan could turn into a trade.

“David’s intention is to maintain his fitness and keep himself eligible for England’s selection,” Simon Oliveira said. “He very much remains a Galaxy player, and he would be in Los Angeles for the start of the 2009 MLS season.”

During the last MLS off-season, Beckham trained with the English Premier League club Arsenal in London. The difference this time is that it appears Beckham could actually play for AC Milan.

The team, a seven-time European champion, already boasts a starry lineup that includes FIFA player of the year Kaka, along with fellow Brazilian internationals Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato.

Also on the team are Italian World Cup winners Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso, Gianlucca Zambrotta and Alessandro Nesta, not to mention Holland’s Clarence Seedorf, France’s Mathieu Flamini and Ukraine’s Andriy Shevchenko.

It is difficult to imagine Beckham breaking into the starting 11 on a team whose midfield already is packed with talent.

What Beckham would add is some service from the wing and his free-kick ability — although Pirlo and Ronaldinho are equally, if not more, adept at set pieces. Coach Carlo Ancelotti would probably use Beckham in a limited role off the bench, just as England coach Fabio Capello does.

“We’ll sign him for a few months, and then he’ll go back,” said Adriano Galliani, AC Milan’s vice president. “Beckham will bring more fans.”

Ancelotti was not against the move. “For me, it will be a pleasure,” the coach told Agence France Press. “Beckham is a serious athlete, a great professional.”

The Galaxy on Wednesday morning had no comment on the reports out of Europe, and Beckham was not immediately available.

It was also uncertain when the possible loan would begin or end. The Galaxy season will not end until Sunday’s regular-season finale against FC Dallas in Carson.

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