Welcome to the World of Beckham blog, we aim to keep you up to date with developments in the career of David Beckham a footballer from the UK who has played for some of the top teams in the world.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

England 4 Slovakia 0

England manage to pull a result from a match which saw three strikers taken off with injury, starting with Emile Heskey after he had scored from Rooney's cross after only 7 minutes of the game. Heskey was replaced by Carlton Cole who himself was taken off before the end of the first half making way for Peter Crouch.
In the meantime, Slovakia offered little resistance to England although when they did threaten, it was David James in goal who kept England in the lead, you have to observe that England's current defensive line up does not inspire confidence, and made mistakes tonight that would have been punished by a better side than Slovakia.
The second half saw David Beckham take the field to replace Aaron Lennon, this brings Beckham's tally of caps up to the magical 109 mark, leaving only Peter Shilton's record to aim at. Beckham was by no means a makeweight and made his presence felt by creating a second goal for Wayne Rooney to head into the net. Just minutes earlier he had created a chance for Crouch, which, if John Terry had not lunged at and poked in the back of the net from an offside position, would have seemingly crossed the line unaided.
England continued to dominate and Lampard made it three for England as Crouch limped off to be replaced by Carrick, allowing Rooney to take the striker's role. Rooney took it in his stride as he took the next goal in his stride picking up the ball in front of the goalie, and chipping it in with his left foot - as cool a strike as you will see at international level and leaving the observer wondering if England actually need any strikers?
Ukraine will no doubt prove more of a handful than the lack-lustre Slovakians, and Darren Bent has been called into the squad so that we have at least one legitimate striker fit enough to take the field on Wednesday.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Beckham to set new record

If Beckham takes the field in tomorrow's friendly match against Slovakia, he will become England's most-capped outfield player with a total of 109 caps, and could even take Peter Shilton's record of 125 caps if he plays all the way through to the World Cup.
Having previously been convinced that his international career was over at 94 caps, anything is now considered a bonus, and this is due in no small part to his new role in Milan. Capello himself has encouraged the move and has done his part to secure the original loan period. All the indications are that Beckham will be a force to be reckoned with again on the international stage as long as he can stay injury-free and maintain his excellent fitness levels.
Bobby Moore previously held the record of 108 caps which Beckham has already equalled. Of course there are more opportunities to gain international caps nowadays, but the demands on players are such that they are now much more atheltic.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Napoli 0 Milan 0

With Inzaghi in goal-scoring form and players like Pato, Beckham, Seedorf and Maldini, one could have expected Milan to make an impression on this game early on in the first half.
Napoli however, were not about to roll over and threatened Dida's goal on several occassions. Milan looked comfortable without really supplying the telling final ball to a lone Inzaghi, but it was Napoli who had the ball in the net from a corner after 36 minutes only for it to be (wrongly) ruled offside.
The first half saw Beckham appearing once again more in the center of midfield before returning to his traditional right wing role in the second half.
The second half saw Milan with large chunks of possession, and Napoli had to be concerned to see Seedorf take the bench after 10 minutes of the second half to be replaced by Ricardo Kaka on his way back from injury. Inzaghi also left the field just after the hour mark to be replaced by Ronaldinho leaving Milan with a trio of Brazilians up front with Kaka and Pato already on the field. Almost immediately Napoli spurned a golden chance to score, illustrating the point that although Milan had all the possession, Napoli probably had made better chances.

As the game wore on, Napoli threatened more and Milan still failed to really create any convincing goal-scoring opportunities, hardly causing the Napoli keeper to stretch himself. Dida on the other hand was kept busy in the Milan goal, and still is a cause for concern with some of his decision-making.
The game became ugly five minutes from the end with players squaring up and coaching staff and substitutes spilling onto the pitch and the ref losing control somewhat. However the game resumed and on 90 minutes Beckham had a chance from a free-kick, the keeper got down well at his right-hand post to deny Milan a goal - the last reportable action in a disappointing game which Napoli should feel they could have won, Milan should be happy with the draw after an unconvincing performance.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Englands World Cup qualifying campaign

These are the next England games up to June this year, beginning with a final 'warm up' friendly at Wembley:

Saturday, 28 March 2009
England v Slovakia, 17:15

...before moving on to the World Cup qualifiers where we have a 100% record so far (see the table at the bottom of this post..)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009
England v Ukraine, 20:00

Saturday, 6 June 2009
Kazakhstan v England, 15:00

Wednesday, 10 June 2009
England v Andorra

Sunday, 15 March 2009

AC Siena 1 AC Milan 5

Milan showed in emphatic style today, that they are not out of the title race, mercilessly putting Siena to the sword with another wonderful display from Inzaghi.
Flamini was fouled in the first seven minutes resulting in a penalty for Milan converted by Pirlo. AC Siena reacted by pressurising the Milan goal but to little effect although sadly Abiatti collided with one of his defenders after just eleven minutes leading to him being replaced by Dida in goal for the rest of the game. Reports confirm a lengthy period of recovery for Abiatti for a cruciate ligament repair. After resisting the best that Siena had to offer, Inzaghi opened up the gap to 2-0 just before the break, finishing from a Beckham corner.
Kaka returned to the field for the second half after a lengthy respite with a foot injury. Ten minutes later saw Pato scoring his first and Milan's third of the day. On 62 minutes, Siena hopes were raised as they manage to pull one back, but this turned out to be a mere consolation goal as Inzaghi capped his performace with his 300th career goal less than 10 minutes later. Not long after that Pirlo added insult to injury with his second and Milan's fifth. Beckham missed out an a chance to get on the scoresheet by placing a shot over the bar in the closing seconds.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

New ankle injury

It has been reported that Beckham injured his ankle in training a few days ago. Although reportedly the injury is not serious, he was plagued with ankle problems about 18 months ago which kept him off the field after first arriving in LA. The next Milan game is on Sunday, whether he is included in the starting lin-up, on the bench or in the stands should indicate the extent of the damage.

Here is the schedule for Milan's league matches up to May:

Siena-Milan, sunday 15 march 15.00
Napoli-Milan, sunday 22 march 20.30
Milan-Lecce, saturday 4 april 20.30
Chievo-Milan, saturday 11 april 15.00
Milan-Torino, sunday 19 april 20.30
Milan-Palermo, sunday 26 april 15.00
Catania-Milan, sunday 3 may 15.00.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Beckham deal signed and sealed

The details may trickle through over time, but the Beckham contract reported earlier in this blog seems to be close to the deal actually struck.
Beckham has officially been signed for AC Milan until June, and this fact has been stated on the AC Milan website - at the same time he remains a Galaxy player, so the deal is basically a loan deal which will repeat itself next year allowing Beckham to return to Milan in 2010.
Both sides are claiming a positive outcome, although Beckham will be personally hit in the pocket, a small price to pay for extricating himself from a footballing backwater and making himself available for the next World Cup.
The Galaxy deal extends beyond the World Cup, and as it stands now Beckham would be expected to finish off 2010 in the MLS as per the original contract. Of course, this could prove an excellent platform from which Beckham can make his bid for the England squad - a man prepared to work straight through two MLS and two Serie A seasons with a World Cup thrown in - reportedly at a personal cost of £2m or $2m depending on which report you read... is surely worth considering for the national squad? On top of this, he has been able to demonstrate that his overall form has not suffered whilst languishing in the MLS, he is at least as sharp as he was when he left Real Madrid when he played under Capello.
As also reported earlier, the deal includes a 'Milan v Galaxy' exhibition match on July 19 at The Home Depot Center. I am guessing Beckham will be playing for Galaxy, and if they bring their top names, AC Milan should by rights absolutely hammer The Galaxy. Messers Kaka, Pato, Seedorf, Ronaldinho, Chevchenko and Inzaghi should be able to rip the Galaxy defence to shreds if it is anything remotely like the defence they ended up with last season.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

AC Milan 3 Atalanta 0

Milan scored through Inzaghi in the first 7 minutes setting the tone for a closely fought first half. Beckham started taking up a more central role behind the strikers, often drifting into positions on the left more familiarly occupied by Ronaldhino.
After the initial blow by Milan, Atalanta showed that they were not about to lose heart, drawing some fantastic saves out of Abbiati in the Milan goal. The first half was a testament to the flowing football of Serie A, neither team establishing superiority, but both teams playing well.
The end-to-end action continued into the second half, with Atalanta having the best of the play as the hour-mark approached. Abbiati was kept busy in the Milan goal as Atalanta pressed for the equaliser and looked the team most likely to score. It was a cruel blow to Atalanta then when Inzaghi was put through with only the keeper to beat and made the score 2 - 0, and even more so a minute later when the ball was slipped across the box to a waiting Inzaghi this time in front of an open goal.. Inzaghi did not hesitate to take his hat-trick, and Milan were home and dry with 25 minutes left on the clock.
Chevchenko was bought on with 10 minutes to go allowing the crowd to show their appreciation for the substituted Inzaghi for his three goals. With 'Posh' watching in the stands, Beckham was also given a standing ovation as he was substituted less than a minute before the end.

Friday, 6 March 2009

The waiting is over??

The more observant visitors may have noticed that I changed the colour-scheme of the blog yesterday to the colours of the Rossoneri in anticipation of the imminent deal.

The details of the agreement are starting to trickle through and it is thought that Beckham will bear a cost of around £2m himself, and that he will fluctuate bewteen the two clubs over the next year or so. This keeps the marketing people happy as both Milan and The Galaxy will be able to print shirts with Beckham's name on the back. Of course, if the original deal of a 50/50 split on Milan merchandising of Beckham artifacts is intact, he may be able to put a dent in the £2m with shirt sales alone...

Staying at Milan until the end of the Italian season makes him available for England games against Kazakhstan and Andorra. He is then likely to return to LA to train with The Galaxy, but not able to play until after the transfer window closes in July. He will then see out the MLS season and return on loan again next year, probably resuming his role in the team after the Winter transfer window opens.

If all goes well, this could see Beckham as part of the squad that goes to the World Cup in South Africa next summer, possibly returning to LA again to finish off the MLS season. During this time, the family will remain primarily based in Los Angeles. One is just left wondering if this punishing schedule of game after game after game will take it's toll on the 33 year old Beckham, although his fitness is not really in question.

There has been much speculation about Beckham's value as a player as opposed to a marketing tool, but the simple fact is that he would not be on the field for Milan or England if he were not contributing - if he was not on the field, no-one would buy the merchandising. The critics have to accept that some very intelligent football minds are willing to stake their reputation on having Beckham in their side namely Ancelloti and Capello - they are primarily concerned with performance and results and I am sure their judgment is exactly what it should be.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Announcement expected..

According to Italian sources, Milan are expected to announce a new offer tomorrow for Beckham which may end the speculation about his future.
The deal is likely to see Beckham take a pay cut which will make way for more funds to be allocated to his purchase price. Effectively he is is subsidising his own purchase without going down the slightly humiliating route of having to buy himself out of his contract. There was always going to be pressure on the weakest point in this complicated business deal, and with Beckham declaring his genuine desire to stay at Milan, he became weaker than Milan who had previously expressed their desire to keep him.

That said, the minutia of the deal will be glossed over if he can give great performances on the pitch and put the LA experience behind him. There may be a sting in the tail of the deal which could see him returning to LA after the end of the Serie A season to see out the remainder of his contract until November.
Since the MLS season started in March 2008, Beckham has played right through both US and Italian seasons without a break - if he takes the option of returning to LA, he will be doing the same for two years on the trot. By the time he finishes his contract in LA, he will be straight back into the Serie A again through to June 2010.

Al Sadd 1 Milan 2

Milan have taken part in a friendly against Al Sadd in Doha. Once again Beckham was in the starting line up, but only played the first half.
Pato scored first for Milan after 27 minutes and ten minutes later the home side equalised. Almost immediately Milan responded to re-establish their lead and the game finished 2 -1 to Milan.
Speaking before the game, Beckham reiterated his desire to stay in Milan beyond next week when he is due to return to LA:

"I have already expressed that I want to stay here, negotiations are still going on and hopefully it will be sorted out in the next few days and I can carry on playing my football in AC Milan."

Monday, 2 March 2009

Sampdoria 2 Milan 1

Still missing Kaka and Ronaldhino, Milan took on a Sampdoria side who like Milan were recovering from being knocked out of the Uefa Cup.
Samp took the lead after 33 minutes in a largely uneventful first half in which Milan showed a distinct lack of form and despite the experience on display, a failure to compensate for their missing stars. In the second half, Inzaghi came on to increase Milans attack, but it was Samp who extended their lead after only 6 minutes into the second half. 23 minutes into the second half and Emerson came on for Beckham, a little over 12 minutes later and Pato grabbed a goal for Milan. Milan start to believe they could get something out of the game especially when Emerson had a Pirlo freekick glance off him into the net, only to be ruled offside. Despite Milans late efforts, no further goals came and Milan record another under-par performance and a missed opportunity for reclaiming second place in the league.