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AC Milan take on Man United as last 16 kicks off
Wayne Rooney's (pictured) Manchester United clash with seven-time champions AC Milan in the first leg of the last 16 Tuesday in San Siro. At the same time, Real Madrid take on Lyon.
REUTERS - Experience will be AC Milan's biggest weapon against Manchester United in Tuesday's Champions League clash and David Beckham has it in abundance, Alex Ferguson said on Monday.
Seven-times champions Milan, who host last season's runners-up in the last 16 first leg, have never lost to the Old Trafford club at home or been beaten by them over two legs.
Clarence Seedorf has won four European Cups with three clubs while former United midfielder Beckham is among a host of other Rossoneri players with huge experience on the big stage.
"That's a bit of an advantage to AC Milan, the main advantage I feel, but we have some experience too so it should be a good game," the United manager told a news conference before giving Beckham a modicum of praise if little else.
"I think David has great experience. It's great experience to bring into big games." Ryan Giggs, United's most experienced player, is out with a broken arm while Nemanja Vidic is also injured. Ferguson is frustrated about the Serbian's progress after a nerve problem in his leg but denied the club wanted to sell the defender.
Beckham, who won the 1999 Champions League with United before leaving in 2003, has been quoted as saying he will not celebrate if he scores on Tuesday.
"I hope he's not celebrating anyway,"joked Ferguson, aware that Beckham might not even start the game. The United boss was keen to play down the Beckham issue, saying it took reporters only three seconds of the news conference to mention the 34-year-old's name. "He left seven years ago, we move on in life. It's a different team, different players," said Ferguson, who had the same opinion over how United and Milan were coping after selling Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka to Real Madrid last year.
"I think Ronaldo is the best player in the world but I'm biased. When you lose a great player there's a loss. You have to recover from that and look at your team differently."
United frontman Wayne Rooney has taken on the responsibility of carrying his team following the departure of Ronaldo and a top performance in the electric atmosphere of the San Siro will further boost the England striker's immense confidence. "Rooney is getting to the point where you have to consider him as one of the best players in the world," Ferguson said.
"The way you guys write about him he must be God."