“To be leaving like this is sad for me but I'll move on,” said David Beckham, when he left Manchester United.
Seven years later...
Has he moved on?
“The thought of playing United always gives me that sick feeling because I missed the club so much. I always wish I was part of Manchester United, it's just in me. Even though I'm not there anymore, I'm still a huge fan and watch every game where possible,” said Beckham.
The statement from Beckham and the path his career has taken since that fateful move away from Old Trafford would suggest that while he has indeed moved on, he has captured neither the success nor love for a club that he experienced at United.
During his four year spell at Real Madrid, he only lifted one La Liga trophy, in his final season.
At LA Galaxy, things were not going much better for Becks until last year when the Galaxy won the Western Conference, before going on to lose in the MLS final in a penalty shootout.
Now in his second loan spell in Italy, Beckham’s AC Milan returned to its winning ways on Friday night, with a 3-2 victory at the San Siro against Udinese.
Sir Alex Ferguson was in attendance, but only saw 15 minutes of Becks, who came on for fellow superstar Ronaldinho.
Klass-Jan Huntelaar finally proved he has heard of the term “scoring,” bagging two goals against Udinese.
Ronaldinho meanwhile is in the form of his life at the moment.
Pato, Nesta, and Pirlo all looked good to go Tuesday night.
Ironically, Beckham himself has only been a substitute in Milan’s last two matches, and manager Leonardo has remained mum thus far as to whether his Englishman will start.
Nevertheless, I would expect that at the very least Beckham will come off the bench to play against United. His ready-made motivation will be too great for Leonardo to ignore.
In the end, can the experience and creativity of the Milan midfield overcome the solidity and tenacity of United?
We will know on Tuesday night.
Another comeback is in the offing this week as Karim Benzema returns to France to face Olympique Lyon, having left the club just last season to join Real Madrid for 41 million euros.
The move has been followed by a degree of controversy, with Benzema hitting out at Lyon manager Claude Puel, citing him as the primary reason for his early escape from France.
Benzema even claimed that regardless of how badly he performed in training, Puel still picked him in his starting 11.
However, not all has been well for Benzema at Real Madrid. He began the season as a regular in Manuel Pellegrini’s first 11, but lately has slipped down the pecking order.
Additionally, Karim has only just recovered from a muscle injury.
Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo are expected to start, meaning that Benzema, just like Beckham, could be reduced to playing a supporting role as he returns to his boyhood club.
Madrid is in good form going into Tuesday’s clash, but Lyon has never lost to Real at home, with wins in both 2005 and 2006.
On the home front, Lyon is fourth in the French Ligue 1. Puel’s men will need to raise their game drastically if they are to threaten the Galacticos, and the smart money suggests that Real will pick up their first win at the Stade Gerland.
That’s all for this time. Do let me know what you think about Beckham and Benzema’s return. Are they just as good now as they were then? Can Milan win, or will United continue their dominance in Europe? Post your comments here! Thanks for reading.