Beckham's AC Milan switch confirmed

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AC Milan have confirmed David Beckham will be returning to the Italian club.

Former England captain Beckham had been strongly linked with a second loan spell with the Rossoneri to improve his chances of making Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.

Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani claimed last week an announcement was imminent - and it has been confirmed on the club's official website this evening.

Beckham moved to the San Siro during Major League Soccer's off-season last January, initially on a three-month loan deal, but impressed so much his stay was extended until the end of the Serie A campaign.

The 34-year-old returned to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer after helping Milan to fourth place in Serie A, with two goals in 18 league appearances.

Milan have announced a six-month deal on this occasion, meaning Beckham will remain in Italy up until the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said on the club's official website, "We are very happy to see again David Beckham with the Rossoneri jersey after the splendid experience of last season.

"We are certain that this time in Europe will help the player take part in the next World Cup and to continue after his career in Los Angeles Galaxy, to whom we thank for their time."

His first Serie A game this season could be against Genoa at the San Siro on January 6.

Galliani continued: "We are confident his loan spell will not only improve Milan, it will help the player to take part in the World Cup in South Africa and continue to enhance his career in North America with the LA Galaxy.

"We would like to thank the Galaxy and MLS for their co-operation and understanding."

A statement from LA Galaxy read: "We have today completed the loan agreement of midfielder David Beckham to AC Milan, effective in January.

"Beckham remains under contract to the Galaxy and will play for the club throughout the MLS Cup play-offs, which continue on Sunday.

"In accordance with team and league regulations, details of the loan agreement were not released."

Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said: "We are pleased to finalise David's loan to AC Milan and we look forward to his return to the Galaxy after the 2010 World Cup,"

Following the conclusion of the MLS season, Beckham and the rest of the Galaxy will travel to Germany for the club's 2009 post-season tour.

He will officially join AC Milan on December 28 and will remain with the club throughout their season, which ends on May 16, before rejoining the Galaxy when the summer transfer window opens in July 2010.

Beckham joined the Galaxy in January 2007, making his debut in a friendly against Chelsea in July of that year.

In three seasons with the club, he has appeared in 41 MLS games, scoring seven goals.

He missed the first half of the 2009 MLS season while on loan to Milan, but returned to the Galaxy in July.

Beckham is clearly looking ahead to the World Cup, which begins in South Africa on June 11.

He said: "I need to give myself the best chance possible to make the World Cup squad and playing for Milan on loan will help me to do that.

"I genuinely enjoyed my time at Milan and I look forward to meeting the players and staff again.

"I'm thankful to Tim Leiweke and Bruce Arena for allowing me this opportunity.

"I'm committed to LA Galaxy and MLS in the long term and remain as passionate as ever about growing the game of soccer in America.

"I'm completely focused on ending this season on a high note with my club by winning the MLS Cup."