Ancelotti delighted with Beckham's contribution
Carlo Ancelotti admits David Beckham has exceeded all expectations during his first two months as an AC Milan player on the day it was confirmed he will remain with the club until June 30.
The England international arrived in Italy in January in what was largely regarded as a publicity stunt by the Serie A club, but he has become an essential part of Ancelotti's side, even surprising the Rossoneri coach in the process.
"Beckham has done more than we could have possibly expected from him,'' Ancelotti told PA Sport. "He has settled in very well with the squad and given a huge contribution up to now. He is very professional and we are all very, very happy that he is staying.''
The 33-year-old played in an unfamiliar support role behind strikers Filippo Inzaghi and Pato in today's 3-0 win over Atalanta and, although Ancelotti admitted to being "a little worried'' about playing him in a new position, he was more than happy with the result.
The Milan coach praised the versatility of the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder which he can now count on until the end of the season.
"He played very well,'' said Ancelotti. "I was a little worried about it at the start, but he is an intelligent player and knows what was required of him in that role. I am happy for him above all that he is staying.
"The aim was to keep him until June 30 and we have done that. He is very happy with the solution that has been found and we will make the most of having him now and then we will see.''
Beckham will return to the Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of June, but could become an issue again for Milan at the end of November, when he can leave the Major League Soccer side.
And Ancelotti confirmed his club would evaluate the situation having found a solution which he believes is satisfactory for everybody right now.
"The two clubs met and agreed on a compromise which matched the player's wishes,'' he said.
"It was not possible to make it a permanent move so we have him temporarily.
"In November, we will have to see what happens.''
Beckham's team-mate Mathieu Flamini admitted he too was happy the former England captain's future had been resolved and he will be able to play alongside him until the end of the season, even if both players may be competing for the same position when Gennaro Gattuso, Massimo Ambrosini and Kaka recover from injuries.
"I am happy for him,'' he said. "I am glad that he can keep playing here and at the same time prepare well for the England national team. It is a particularly good solution for him.''
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Galaxy scotched suggestions that David Beckham would be reluctant to return to Major League Soccer in July.
The England midfielder had told reporters in Italy last month that it would be difficult for him to return to Los Angeles if his permanent move to Milan did not materialise.
Protracted talks between the Galaxy and the Serie A club finally ended with Sunday's announcement that Beckham would stay on loan at Milan for the rest of the season before returning to the U.S. midway through the 2009 MLS campaign.
"David is happy coming back," Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena said in a teleconference call. "I had contact with David today. We emailed each other.
"He wants to be in LA, he wants to take on this challenge. Despite public statements that have been made over the last couple of months, we are getting back a player who wants to be here and is motivated to do well. I want to make that clear.
"If it was the other way around and this player had no interest in being here, we would not have done this. I can guarantee that."
The 33-year-old joined Milan on a two-month loan in January and had been due to return to Galaxy on Monday. However, the original deal technically had to be until June meaning the clubs could agree to a new deal outside the transfer window.
Beckham, who wanted to stay in Serie A to help him in his bid to play one more World Cup with England in South Africa next year, will remain with Milan until June 30 before returning to Los Angeles the following month.
"I am very optimistic that David's addition to our team in July is going to be a positive," Arena said. "Now we know where we are headed.
"We know what our team is going to look like at the start of the season and we know the kind of additions we're going to have and can continue with our plan to make this team better. It's great to have resolution.
"Is it perfect? Of course it's not perfect but that's okay. I feel just having this thing finalised is a key part of us moving on and getting better."
Although Beckham is likely to play just six home games for the Galaxy during the 2009 MLS season, Arena did not believe this would be a negative factor.
"I think it's a positive, and that's why David is here," he added. "David has brought a lot of attention to our league and he has been an important part of the league's business plan moving forward.
"Him coming here mid-year is not perfect but I think it's a real plus. All professional sports leagues in the United States are in difficult times now with the economy and I think David returning in July will be a boost for MLS and for the Galaxy."