Beckham admits he wants to swap LA for Milan
After weeks of speculation David Beckham has finally admitted what many football fans across the globe already suspected: he wants to cut short his time in the MLS with Los Angeles Galaxy and move permanently to Italy's Serie A and European giants AC Milan.
After playing the first half of Milan's 2-2 friendly draw in Scotland against Rangers on Wednesday night, Beckham revealed he hoped to make his loan deal a permanent transfer.
''I've expressed my desire to stay here but at the moment I'm still a Galaxy player,'' Beckham said. ''I respect the Galaxy and everything they have done for me. They have always been great to me.
''But I hope they can come to an agreement and it's down to the clubs now. At this point it's out of my hands. I've said what my feelings are to both clubs. To be given the chance again to play at this level at my age is pretty incredible and I've enjoyed it so much I would like to continue it.
''I knew I would enjoy it, but I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I have and do as well as I have.''
A big hint that Milan thought a permanent deal was possible came earlier this week when the Italian giants included Beckham in their updated UEFA Cup player list, a competition Beckham has not won and which resumes later this month.
Milan have made no secret of their desire to retain the services of the 33-year-old beyond the end of his loan deal, which is due expire on March 9 thereby allowing Beckham to return to the US and take part in pre-season training ahead of the MLS season.
After Sunday's 3-0 win over Lazio in which Beckham failed to score in his third consecutive game, but did create two goals, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti described the former England captain as ''indispensable.''
Similarly Milan's vice president Adriano Galliani has previously claimed his club will go the extra mile to keep Beckham at the San Siro, saying: ''We really want to keep him, but it depends on Galaxy.
''To lose him would be a blow, hence, we will make every sacrifice and every attempt to keep him. When he joined us we expected him to do well but we didn't think he would do so well,'' said Galliani earlier this week.
In his brief period in Italy Beckham has been an immediate success winning over a sceptical public and media thanks to his impact on Milan's side.
So far Galaxy have refused to discuss Beckham's future, with club spokesman Patrick Donnelly insisting on Wednesday: ''We have no comment to make.''
The main reason behind Beckham's decision to seek a loan move was his ambition to play for England at the 2010 World Cup finals and he clearly feels that aim would be better served by moving from the US back to the top-class European game.
Beckham said: ''I think people have seen the way I've been since playing at this level again. It's nothing against the MLS and the football over there, because it's a game that will grow but it will take quite a few years.
''I'm still confident that will happen eventually, but I want to have a chance of being involved in 2010 and I believe my best chance of doing so is to remain here.''
Beckham, who recovered from a minor bout of flu to play in Glasgow, revealed England manager Fabio Capello had encouraged him to play at the best standard of football he could.
Beckham said: ''When I was first thinking about going on loan, obviously I asked his advice on where I should play and he said, 'All I can say to you is play at the highest level'.''
However, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player refused to look back with regret at his decision to move to America.
He said: ''I have always made decisions never regretting anything in my career and my life. At the time I felt it was right for me and I have had great times there.
''Who knows, I might enjoy myself in the MLS again in the future. It's nothing against the league. It's just I have enjoyed myself so much here I want to stay for a while.''
Milan general manager Adriano Galliani earlier claimed Beckham's lawyers were in talks with LA Galaxy over extending the midfielder's stay at the San Siro.
While Beckham did not believe talks had reached that stage, he does expect both clubs to discuss a deal in the coming days.
Galliani said: ''The Los Angeles Galaxy have always been very nice to us and have behaved in a very gentlemanly manner. There is time until March 8 to get us round a table and close a possible deal.''