Manchester United relish Beckham return

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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power