It’ll be emotional, admits Beckham

The England international comes up against his former club for the

first time since leaving Old Trafford seven years ago, but says the

past will be put to one side for one night when the two sides take

to the field at the San Siro in the last 16 of the Champions

League. “It is going to be an emotional game, but as a Manchester

United fan, it’s the first time I am going to want United to lose,”

he said. “As an AC Milan player, I want to beat Manchester United

and to say that as a Man U fan is quite difficult. “As much as it

is emotional for me personally, it is important that we win the

game. “I am a Milan player and I want us to play well in the game

and progress to the next stage.” Beckham rejected the suggestion

that he will be particularly motivated to get one over Sir Alex

Ferguson on Wednesday night. Beckham left Old Trafford under

something of a cloud in 2003, but insists he only has good memories

of his time with the Red Devils. “Sir Alex will always be a father

figure to me,” he said. “He always has been and he always will be.

No matter what has been said in the past, whether good or bad, I

only remember the good times. “He was the man who gave me my chance

to play for club I had always dreamed of playing for. “For me they

were only good times. Sir Alex is respected throughout football all

around the world. “Clubs move forwards and it was my time to leave

Manchester United in 2003, and I moved on. “I definitely hold

nothing against the manager, he’s an incredible man.” Beckham’s

place in the Milan team on Tuesday night is not guaranteed and his

presence at the pre-match press conference does not necessarily

suggest that Milan coach Leonardo is ready to change the team he

has used for the last two league games in which Beckham has sat on

the bench. “His appearance here today is important for us and I had

asked him personally to come,” explained Leonardo. “He is somebody

who represents this club and he is here because of his experience

and charisma. “He’s a very smart guy, a polite guy and an

incredible player. “If you look at his career you can see that he

has done everything in football, not only on the field. “He’s a

complete personality and he proves every day why he’s so important

for us.” Despite the praise, though, Leonardo may indeed have to

overlook the 34-year-old as he seeks to find a way of beating

United. “Not conceding is always an objective, but we are also a

team who try to score goals and to change our identity gets

complicated,” said the Brazilian coach. “This desire to score goals

is inherent; it is our identity. “To try and find the balance

between not conceding and to hurt them I believe is ideal.”

Alexandre Pato is set to return to the Milan attack while Klaas-Jan

Huntelaar should replace the injured Marco Borriello with

Ronaldinho completing the three-man attack. Central defender Thiago

Silva appears to have recovered from a groin strain he picked up

early in last Friday’s Serie A game against Udinese and he should

partner Alessandro Nesta at the heart of the defence. Beckham,

should he start, could replace Gennaro Gattuso in the midfield

alongside Massimo Ambrosini and Andrea Pirlo.