Soccer: Beckham to join AC Milan on 3-month loan
MILAN, Italy — David Beckham will join AC Milan in January on a three-month loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy to maintain his fitness and prolong his England career.
The former England captain's brief Serie A career will begin Jan. 7, but he will rejoin his Galaxy teammates in March.
"He will have to go back to Galaxy by the time the MLS starts, and training before that," Milan sporting director Umberto Gandini said today. "David is committed to the LA Galaxy and the MLS. Only David knows his future, but for sure he has a commitment to go back to the MLS and fulfill that."
Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said an agreement was reached Thursday with Beckham's lawyers, although a contract is still to be written.
The 33-year-old midfielder is eager to play in Europe during the MLS offseason to remain fit and available for selection for England, which plays an exhibition at Germany on Nov. 19.
Beckham is one appearance away from matching the record 108 for an outfield player — held by 1966 World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore. Goalkeeper Peter Shilton holds the overall England record of 125.
"Milan has made a good acquisition," said England manager Fabio Capello, who also coached Beckham at Real Madrid. "In Madrid, I dropped him from the team because he signed with Los Angeles. But he continued to come and train and I put him back on the team."
Beckham will likely undergo medical tests Dec. 20 and be introduced a day later, when the club will unveil his jersey number. He is set to travel with Milan to Dubai for a midwinter training camp, which includes an exhibition.
Beckham's first competitive game for Milan could come in the capital against AS Roma on Jan. 11.
He will become the first English player to play for the club since 1987, when Ray Wilkins and Mark Hateley left the club.
Beckham will join a stellar midfield at the San Siro, including Italy's World Cup champions Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso, plus Massimo Ambrosini, Mathieu Flamini and Clarence Seedorf.
During the last MLS offseason, Beckham trained with Arsenal to keep fit, but did not play for the English Premier League club.
Beckham starred for Manchester United and Real Madrid before joining the Galaxy in January 2007 in a five-year deal.
After resigning the England captaincy following the 2006 World Cup, Beckham was briefly dropped.