Beckham heralds Milan derby

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The Independent Online

David Beckham rated the Milan derby on a par with those of Manchester and Madrid despite going off injured in AC Milan's 2-1 defeat to rivals Inter last night.

The 33-year-old England midfielder went off shortly after half-time with a minor hamstring injury as goals from Adriano and Dejan Stankovic rendered Alexandre Pato's 70th-minute effort little more than consolation.

"It was great, a great occasion and one of the biggest games in football and the atmosphere was incredible," said Beckham, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star.

"It is up there with both the derbies in Manchester and Madrid.

"These are the biggest games and you have got to enjoy them. I am just a bit disappointed to have come off injured and that we have lost."

Beckham admitted he still does not know if his short-term loan deal with Milan from Los Angeles Galaxy will be made permanent, adding: "We'll have to wait and see.

"I have enjoyed playing on the pitch and my performances and it has gone well for me. But there is nothing I can do. It is kind of out of my hands."



Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is not worried about Beckham's injury, saying: "He took a knock in the first half and he tried to continue, but it started to bother him.

"I don't think it is anything bad. He left the field as we wanted three strikers anyway, but he did alright. It was a difficult game for everybody."

Ancelotti has not given up hope of keeping Beckham beyond the end of his loan spell, although he admits the decision is not up to him.

"I really don't know much about what the club is doing," he said. "All I know is that he is with us until March 9 and we have until then to make a decision about him."

Ancelotti has all but conceded defeat in the Scudetto title race, admitting that Milan's 11-point advantage is too great to overhaul.

"I am not even thinking about first place anymore," he said. "We have got to make the top three to play in the Champions League next season and that is our objective now."

Milan could feel hard done by as Inter's first goal from Adriano looked to have been handball and referee Roberto Rosetti turned down a strong appeal for a penalty when Filippo Inzaghi was fouled by Cristian Chivu in the box.

"The big decisions certainly went against us, but Rosetti is experienced," he added.

"Referees can get things wrong and I have no problem with that, but it is a shame because the first one was a clear error."

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