Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham arrived in Milan to start his second loan spell with the Rossoneri. The Englishman will be looking to help the club compete on the domestic and European front while maintaining his fitness level and competitive edge at Milanello. He had a similar stint last season when he performed admirably, convincing the club to take him on loan again this year. His arrival means he will be available for selection by Coach Leonardo and can feature against Genoa once Serie A resumes. The midfielder is focused on reserving his spot in the England squad headed to South Africa in 2010. England Manager Fabio Capello has given the strongest indication yet regarding Beckham’s presence in next summer’s World Cup, hinting he will choose Beckham as long as he is playing on a regular basis.
Another Milan player who has ambition of representing his country in South Africa 2010 is Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho. The former Barcelona player has avoided speaking about his chances of playing for Brazil again but he recently responded to inquiries about a future recall by Coach Dunga. Ronaldinho emphatically declared he would be honoured to wear the national team shirt again and help his country celebrate another World Cup triumph in South Africa. The player has been overlooked since April 2009 due to inconsistency and lack of form, but he has performed much better in the past few months to earn some recognition for his displays. Coach Dunga’s recent remarks about Ronaldinho shows there is still hope for the player, having declared it is not too late to receive a recall to the national team since there are several months left before the World Cup. But he emphasised Ronaldinho’s focus must be on performing well.
There were reports of interest in the Brazilian star’s services from a plethora of clubs in his hometown but Ronaldinho made sure to dismiss those insisting he will honour his contract with Milan. He did show an interest in returning to play in Brazil once his spell in Europe is over. The club’s other Brazilian star, Alexandre Pato, took the opportunity to praise Coach Leonardo and Ronaldinho while welcoming the return of Beckham. Pato said he is confident of the team’s ability to challenge for the Scudetto and the Champions League. He believes Beckham will offer a great boost for the side while giving Leonardo options in midfield and across the pitch.
Leonardo remains hopeful of making some signings and with the January transfer window looming ahead a number of players and moves have been linked. The Brazilian Coach has set his sights on Edin Džeko and Gökhan Inler but it remains to be seen whether the Milan hierarchy will opt to make a splash in the January market. One player consistently linked with a move away from the San Siro is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The latest reports claim Arsenal will offer the player a loan deal, which might suit the club better since the player can find some playing time to improve his chances of making it to South Africa while working on regaining the form which made him one of the most sought after strikers in Europe. Leonardo does not seem to have the Dutch striker in his tactical thinking, while Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger could use Huntelaar given the injuries to his squad.
With veteran goalkeeper Dida’s uncertain status and approaching retirement, the club’s management was reportedly interested in signing Arsenal’s reserve custodian Vito Mannone. The Italian Under-21 international is not the first-choice in London and a move to Milan could suit him well as he searches for continuous playing time. Wenger has actually used the goalkeeper in both the Premiership and the Champions League, with Mannone featuring four times in the European competition. With Milan’s Christian Abbiati linked with a potential move to Fiorentina, Mannone could find room at Milanello if the Rossoneri are indeed interested in his services.
The winter break has, by and large, been welcomed by most of the staff at the club following an inconsistent start to the season which featured constant rumours about players being sold and the Coach being fired, before the results started to improve and turn in Milan’s favour. It remains to be seen how far they can go given the unenviable task of having to dethrone city rivals Inter on the domestic front and overcome Manchester United in the round of 16 in Europe. All eyes will be on Pato and Ronaldinho as well as veterans Alessandro Nesta, Andrea Pirlo and Clarence Seedorf once the matches resume in 2010.
Milan Club Focus 2009/10
Pre-season expectation – August 18, 2009
Leonardo breathes as Brazilians relieve pressure – August 25, 2009
Kaka returns to the San Siro – August 27, 2009
How to play 4-3-1-2, a lesson from their rivals – September 1, 2009
Reshuffle the current squad, regain the winning mentality – September 4, 2009
International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)
Leonardo’s time to react – September 7, 2009
Livorno springs opportunity to end crisis – September 11, 2009
Serie A slides down priority list – September 15, 2009
Leonardo lurches into decision-making territory – September 18, 2009
Off the pitch rumours continue to swirl – September 22, 2009
Old legs cannot win forever, will Berlusconi follow in Della Valle’s footsteps? – September 25, 2009
A powerhouse that no longer strikes fear – September 29, 2009
Time is running out to save il Diavolo’s season – October 2, 2009
A draw as bitter as a defeat – October 6, 2009
The club is not for sale – October 9, 2009
International week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
In search of strikers and defenders – October 13, 2009
Berlusconi reiterates he will not sell as the Rossoneri prepare for Roma – October 16, 2009
Brazilian duo see off Roma – October 20, 2009
Rossoneri record famous win in Madrid – October 23, 2009
Leonardo stumbles upon the 4-2-3-1 – October 27, 2009
Two precious points dropped – October 30, 2009
Borriello strikes twice as Milan continue climbing the table – November 3, 2009
A bitter draw after Pato’s disallowed ‘goal’ as Huntelaar emerges unscathed – November 6, 2009
The Rossoneri challenging Juventus for second place – November 10, 2009
International week (Italy-Holland, Italy-Sweden)
Crucial stretch begins as Dzeko linked again – November 20, 2009
Rossoneri continue impressive run – November 24, 2009
Missed opportunity to qualify – November 27, 2009
Huntelaar breaks his duck with a late double to lift Mila to second – December 1, 2009
Season-defining week looms ahead – December 4, 2009
Sunshine glimmers from the San Siro, but those clouds won’t leave – December 8, 2009
Qualification secured after a scare – December 11, 2009
Gattuso to help the aged a little longer – December 14, 2009
Staying away from the market – December 18, 2009
Winter break starts early – December 22, 2009
Beckham lands in town – December 29, 2009