Beckham ready for unfinished business at Old Trafford

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David Beckham is hoping to play against his former club Manchester United in the Champions League when he joins Milan in the new year.

While United will be seeded for the knockout stages, Milan are not when the draw takes place in Nyon, Switzerland, tomorrow. That means United are among six teams they could be drawn against.

"I would really like to face my former team in the next round," Beckham, who will join Milan on a six-month loan deal from Los Angeles Galaxy when the transfer window reopens, said yesterday. "Since I left [United] in 2003, I have not returned to play at Old Trafford. Seven years have gone by and I would like for that to happen. Me against Manchester, it would be beautiful, wouldn't it?"

The England midfielder, who won the Champions League with United in 1999, spent a decade with United before moving to Real Madrid, and knows how challenging the tie against last season's runners-up would be. "It would be very difficult," Beckham said. "But it will be very exciting. I like big challenges and I would love to play that type of game. I would love to win the Champions League because it is a special competition, where the strongest teams compete."

The 34-year-old's priority until then is to earn a regular spot in Leonardo's Milan. Beckham was a key player for the former Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti last season and the Galaxy player will be eager to earn a starting role under Leonardo in the hope of making Fabio Capello's England World Cup squad. Asked if England were among the favourites for South Africa, he said: "Yes, we can say it without any problems. England are a very ambitious team, however they are not the only ones."

He added: "I am delighted to return to Italy. I can't wait to go back to Milan. I am counting the days and there is only two weeks to go. Above everything, I want to be a part of this fantastic group. It's not important which position I play in midfield, the important thing is how I play."

Milan are second in Serie A, five points behind city rivals Internazionale. "There is a long way to go in the championship and we need to overtake Inter, but anything is possible," Beckham said. "It won't be easy, but all Milan's players are strong and are playing at a high level."