Manchester United relish Beckham return
Friday 18 December 2009
David Beckham is expected to be greeted with a "fantastic reception" if he makes his return to Old Trafford after his AC Milan side were drawn with Manchester United in the Champions League last 16.
The England midfielder, who won the Champions League with United in 1999 before joining Real Madrid in 2003, will be on loan at Milan from Los Angeles Galaxy when the sides meet over two legs in February and March.
United's director of communications Phil Townsend welcomed the draw.
"It will be fantastic," he told Sky Sports News. "I think everyone at Old Trafford will be absolutely delighted, it's what the Champions League is all about.
"He (Beckham) will get a fantastic reception, as players coming back usually do at Manchester United. He was a terrific servant for the club and we all hope he will be playing."
Former Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham expects Beckham to be welcomed with open arms.
"Without a doubt, he was a top player, an icon, the supporters will love him coming back to say his goodbyes and see him on the pitch," said the former England striker.
AC Milan organisational manager Umberto Gandini was confident the Rossoneri could repeat their 2007 semi-final victory over United.
He told Eurosport: "It's a difficult tie, we know that but we can be boosted by the result the last time we played them. That year we went on to win the competition.
"They are still two great teams but they are very different to 2007. Now there is no Kaka, no (Cristiano) Ronaldo and no (Paolo) Maldini."
On Beckham's return, he said: "It's a great occasion for David, who will be playing for us from January, to go back to Old Trafford to play against Manchester United for the first time."
Chelsea take on former manager Jose Mourinho after being drawn against Inter Milan. Mourinho led Chelsea to consecutive Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006 before surprisingly leaving early in the 2007/2008 season.
The 46-year-old signed a three-year contract with Inter Milan in 2008 and completed his first season in Italy by winning the Serie A title.
Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink fancies his old team's chances "big time" despite being paired with Italy's top side.
"It's a perfect tie, you couldn't have asked for any more," he said.
"I do fancy Chelsea big time, obviously it's a big tie but this competition is about playing against the best. If you want to win this competition you have to be able to beat teams like this."
As for the return of the 'Special One', Hasselbaink said: "Mourinho is absolutely loved at Chelsea.
"He's going to get an absolutely magnificent reception but Chelsea still have to win."
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay was enthused by the high-profile clash.
"I'm sure Jose will get a fantastic reaction from our fans," he said. "But at the end of the day he is the opposition and we'll look to go through over the two games."
Former Portugal and Inter forward Luis Figo said of his compatriot Mourinho's return to Chelsea: "He must be happy to return to a place he was so successful and spent a very good time.
"On both sides I think it will be a great return for him and I hope at the end we can be much more happy than Chelsea."
Arsenal will take on Porto with all three English clubs playing the first leg of their ties away from home after winning their groups.
Arsenal secretary David Miles believes Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will be satisfied with a two-legged tie against Porto.
"I think he will be relatively pleased," he said. "We have played Porto three times in four seasons so they are a team we know well."
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