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Beckham plans to return to Galaxy next season

He says he's '95% sure' his loan to AC Milan will be approved, but that he remains committed to L.A.

October 26, 2008|Grahame L. Jones | Jones is a Times staff writer.

Speaking for the first time since his planned move to AC Milan became public knowledge last week, David Beckham on Saturday said he had every intention of returning to the Galaxy in time for the 2009 Major League Soccer season.

Asked whether today's game against FC Dallas in Carson would be his last with Los Angeles, Beckham responded almost tersely.

"No, it won't be," he said. "I've made that clear. I've said that my commitment is still to the Galaxy, and that has not changed."

Beckham is under contract to MLS until 2012, but that did not stop AC Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti from saying Saturday that he "certainly" would like to keep Beckham on a permanent basis.

Ancelotti said Beckham could be with the Italian team in time for its lucrative trip to Dubai in late December.

"Perhaps we will only be useful to him because he will train with us, but he could be useful to us, even if it was only for one game," Ancelotti said.

"We will not consider him a tourist but a full-fledged player who will insert himself into the squad without problems and compete with the others."

Beckham said he was "95% sure" the loan would be finalized in the next couple of weeks.

"I'm honored that I've been given the chance to join up with a team like Milan, especially with the players that they've got," he said. "They've got some of the best players in the world. I know their facilities are amazing, so I'm just looking forward to it."

Asked whether he would push matters if the Galaxy dug in its heels, Beckham said he had already been given the green light.

"The Galaxy are not against it," he said. "They've made that clear. I've spoken to [AEG Chief Executive] Tim Leiweke and I've spoken to the coach, and they've said if I want to do that they're prepared to let me go on loan until our season."

Beckham is trying to maintain his place on England's national team so he can take part in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

But England Coach Fabio Capello has said he would only call upon players who were playing competitive matches.

With the Galaxy not qualifying for the MLS playoffs, it does not have another competitive match until late March. That, Beckham said, is not good enough.

"If you know footballers, they don't have four months off in any league in the world apart from here," he said. "I'm not prepared to have four or five months off without playing and training.

"I don't agree with the amount of time that we have off here. I need to play. My body is programmed to not have so much time off."

Beckham is likely to be called in for England's high-prestige friendly against Germany in Berlin on Nov. 19. After that, England has friendly matches against Spain and Slovakia set for February and March, respectively, before its next World Cup qualifier, against Ukraine in London on April 1.

The MLS season already would have started by then, so it is unclear exactly when Beckham would return, assuming that the picture does not change again with AC Milan making a bid to buy Beckham outright.

It all leaves the former Manchester United and former Real Madrid player looking forward to the coming months.

"I've played for the biggest club in England," Beckham said. "I've played for the biggest club in Spain. To play for the biggest club in Italy, it's a great chance for me."

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grahame.jones@latimes.com

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