Beckham hoping to prove form before Old Trafford visit

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The Independent Online

David Beckham could be handed one last Old Trafford audition as an injury-hit Milan go into the first of the two games that will go a long way to deciding their season tonight when they travel to face third-placed Roma. The former England captain will hope that Leonardo picks him ahead of Ignazio Abate as he looks to cover the absence of striker Alexandre Pato.

The Brazilian coach was expected to favour calling up Mancini for a place in the front three alongside Marco Borriello and the prolific Ronaldinho, who has 15 assists this season. That would have left Beckham vying for a place in midfield where Milan are expected to keep faith with Mathieu Flamini, Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini. But Mancini is still short of full fitness, and Leonardo admits, "both Beckham and Abate are options". The six-pointer with Roma gives Beckham a chance to play his way into the line-up for Wednesday's second leg with Manchester United. "We will know whether Pato will be back for the Champions League on Monday," Leonardo said. Both sides will be hoping to close the gap on leaders Internazionale who are at home to Genoa tomorrow.

Higuain reveals sauce of goals

Gonazalo Higuain this week put his recent success down to ketchup after admitting one of the best pieces of advice he ever received was from former Real Madrid team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy, who told him scoring goals was like trying to get sauce out of the bottle – you bang away for ages without success and then it all comes out at once. The Argentine is Real's top scorer with 16 goals in 18 games – three more than Cristiano Ronaldo – ahead of tonight's home game against fourth-placed Seville and their Champions League second leg against Lyons on Wednesday. Leaders Barcelona take their slender two-point league lead to Almeria.

Ribéry given deadline

Bayern Munich have told Franck Ribéry he has to make a decision about his future in the next two weeks. The French winger faces Cologne today as Bayern look to stay out in front of Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, but Bayern's honorary president Franz Beckenbauer all but confirmed that Ribéry will be sold in the summer if he does not agree to talks over a new contract. Beckenbauer said: "Ribéry has a contract with us until June 2011. I think in the next couple of weeks a decision has to be made."

Porto seek lift tonight

Porto are in need of a morale booster ahead of their trip to Arsenal on Tuesday. They were thumped 3-0 away to Sporting last weekend leaving them eight points adrift of second place. A home game against mid-table Olhanense tonight should be just the tonic.

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