AC Milan confirm their winter tour to Dubai prompting speculation David Beckham might join them in the UAE.
Milan hint at Beckham UAE debut
AC Milan confirmed details of their winter tour to Dubai yesterday prompting speculation that David Beckham might also be joining his illustrious teammates while they are in the UAE. The Italian giants will be in Dubai from Dec 29 to Jan 7 2009 where they will take part in a training camp and play a game against Hamburg SV in a match formally known as the "Dubai Football Challenge".
The AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani confirmed that Beckham, 33, is set to formally join them on a three-month loan from American Major League Soccer (MLS) club LA Galaxy on Jan 7, but the chances of the England international making some kind of appearance in Dubai with his new team have not been ruled out. Stuart Webb, the chairman of the organisers, World Series, said: "While it has not yet been finalised what will happen with David Beckham, we are hoping he will be part of the Milan training camp and figure in the match against Hamburg.
"It will be down to the AC management and David, but he has a holiday home in Dubai and it seems an ideal scenario to have him getting to know the team out there. "As organisers, it would be fantastic for football fans in the UAE to see him with the other Milan superstars for this one-off match too. Beckham has an appeal worldwide." And Beckham may not be the only football superstar playing a part in the challenge - Brazilian legend Pele could also be making a special appearance as an official ambassador for the World Series.
Beckham owns a house on the exclusive Palm Jumeirah complex and it was also reported yesterday that his close friends, the Hollywood actor Tom Cruise and his wife Katie Holmes, are to host a New Year's Eve party at Dubai's exclusive Atlantis hotel. AC Milan have admitted that signing Beckham fits in with with plans to increase their fan base worldwide and they could be tempted to unveil him in Dubai given the huge commercial opportunities this would represent.
Galliani said: "David's arrival is a dream that becomes a reality. We haven't written the contract but the agreement has been reached. "Beckham will be at Milan on loan from Jan 7 until the start of the Major League Soccer, hence, for two-and-a-half to three months." Milan have ruled out making a permanent move for Beckham, who could make his Serie A debut away to Roma on Jan 11. Galliani said: "That possibility [of a permanent move] is not practical because he has a contract with the Galaxy. The club want him to remain in Los Angeles and he is happy there.
"Moreover he has many advertising contracts." The presence of some of the world's leading players such as Kaka, Ronaldinho, Pato and Paolo Maldini is set to be one of the highlights of the football calendar in the UAE. The tour is sponsored by Emirates Airline and Milan will take on Hamburg on Jan 6 at the com pany's purpose-built sports facility 'The Sevens'. Ticket details are to be announced shortly for what is expected to be a sell out match. This is the third year running Milan have come to Dubai for a winter tour to take on Hamburg, who are sponsored by Emirates. Boutros Boutros, Emirates' senior vice-president, media relations, sponsorships and events, said: "We are delighted to be bringing AC Milan to Dubai for the winter tour which will givelocal football supporters a unique opportunity to see some of the best players in the world in their own back yard." Talks with Pele are at an advanced stage to make the three-time World Cup winner an official ambassador for the World Series. If agreement can be reached then his first appearance will be at the Dubai Football Challenge, where he will present the trophy to the winners of the game. Hamburg, managed by Martin Jol, won last year's clash with Milan.