Al-Ahram Weekly Online   3 - 9 January 2008
Issue No. 878
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

New Year coaches


DESPITE the stormy relationship the two shared at Real Madrid, David Beckham is eager to play under new England manager Fabio Capello. The 32-year- old midfielder has played 99 games for England and hopes to reach No. 100 in England's friendly against Switzerland at Wembley Stadium on 6 February.

"Fabio is one of the managers players look up to and want to manage them. I hope I'll be part of his plans," Beckham told BBC Radio in an interview from which excerpts were released by the BBC on Monday.

"I think he is a great appointment for England. Everyone wants someone leading him that has respect and success. He has without doubt got that in his career."

Capello dropped Beckham from Real Madrid when the former England captain announced his move to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer. But Beckham won back his place and helped Madrid win the Spanish league title last season.

"There were ups and downs with me and the manager at the time but he brought me back into the team and he had the belief in me to put me back in the team," Beckham said. "It gave me an amazing end and I was sad when he got fired since I think he had turned the club and the players around and given the fans what they deserved, a trophy."

On the other hand, Capello, who won 14 trophies with four different clubs, was appointed manager of England's ailing team on 14 December.

He replaced Steve McClaren, who was fired in November when England failed to qualify for the 2008 European Championship. McClaren's first decision when he became manager in August 2006 was to drop Beckham, only to bring him back in May when England's Euro 2008 campaign was stumbling.

Capello was vague about Beckham's future during his first news conference on 17 December. He said he thought Beckham, when he sets himself a task to do, would achieve it. "But I will have to make choices," said Capello. "I believe that Beckham is an important player for England and I will take him in serious consideration."

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho has reportedly agreed to take over at AC Milan next season, succeeding to Carlo Ancelotti.

The Portuguese tactician, who is out of work since last October after his shock exit from Stamford Bridge and Chelsea, signed a pre-contract agreement.

At the same time, the Rossoneri are preparing 25m for the 29-year-old Chelsea and Ivory Coast marksman Didier Drogba. AC Milan have been linked with Drogba since last summer but the Blues weren't ready to sell their talented striker.

Drogba expressed his desire to leave Chelsea in the wake of Mourinho's departure.

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