Seven years after leaving for Real Madrid, AC Milan's David Beckham faces an emotional return to Old Trafford on Wednesday, where he will take on the club that helped him become the world's most recognisable footballer.
"I'll always be a United fan but this is perhaps the first time in my life that I want them to lose," the midfielder said ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash, which will see Beckham's AC Milan attempt to overturn a 3-2 first-leg deficit to claim a quarter-final slot.
Beckham is far from certain to start after an unconvincing display in central midfield at the San Siro that saw the 34-year-old substituted mid-way through the second half.
But the former England captain, who is on loan from MLS side LA Galaxy, is highly likely to play some role in the game and can expect a warm reception from the Old Trafford crowd.
Beckham spent his formative years with Manchester United's youth team and played alongside Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes when they won the FA Youth Cup in 1992.
That famous side went on to provide the homegrown core of the squad whose domination of English football reached its peak in 1999 when United won a league, cup and Champions League treble.
"I'm not nervous," Beckham insisted in an interview with Milan's in-house television channel. "I'm happy because for the first time after seven years I will return to Manchester and go on the pitch. I'll meet up with many friends and all the people who supported me for many years.
"If I play, I won't be frightened. I'll be excited. I played in that stadium for many years and I know what it means to be a Manchester United player. I know what it means for opponents to play there.
"Playing at Old Trafford is always difficult. It's difficult to win, especially 2-0. We know we'll have to go for it. We are aware of the fact that it will be a very difficult match, but nothing's impossible."
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Date created : 2010-03-10