Posted on February 13, 2010
David Beckham is not guaranteed a place in the AC Milan team which faces Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
After starting Milan’s first five league games of 2010, Beckham has been a substitute in their last two, although he did play the final 15 minutes of the 3-2 win over Udinese on Friday night.
But Leonardo discarded the notion that former United midfielder Beckham was being saved for his “special match” next week, insisting he had and will continue to pick the team he believes is best suited for each individual game.
“We know it’s a very special match for him,” said Leonardo.
“It’s very special to play in the Champions League against his own team, let’s say it like that.
“But we have got to analyze everything and we have a lot of players in good condition. We’ll see how everybody is to choose the best team.”
On Friday night Amantino Mancini took the role Beckham has occupied since arriving at the Rossoneri in December, but he is ineligible to face the Red Devils having already appeared in the competition for his former club Inter Milan. His position will therefore be up for grabs.
Mancini was replaced by Alexandre Pato on Friday night while Beckham had to wait until late on before taking the place of Ronaldinho, whose place in the team on Tuesday does not appear to be in any doubt after another inspirational performance against Udinese.
But Leonardo’s praise of Beckham’s adaptability means the former England captain has a good chance of featuring against his former employers.
“I think he can play anywhere,” added Leonardo.
“He’s smart and intelligent and tactically he’s perfect.
“There are no problems choosing a system or a position for him.
“He’s been doing very well this year. He arrived in December and he knows the team and how we play.
“I think David has nothing to prove to anybody.
“His career speaks for itself because what he did in football is something very big.”
Milan’s game against Udinese set a precedent with the Italian Football League agreeing to bring the fixture forward 24 hours to grant the Rossoneri an extra day to prepare for Tuesday’s encounter.
However, United’s elimination from the FA Cup means they have a free weekend and this could favour them, according to Leonardo.
“Fortunately we have played on Friday so we can rest a bit more, but Manchester played the other day so they have six days, which is two days more than us,” he said.
“The more you rest, the better and the more players you get back.
“Manchester also had some players out injured who may benefit from these extra days, but at least we played today and this gives us two days more (than usual), which is an advantage.”
Leonardo will be looking to establish an advantage for his side on Tuesday night and not leave them a mountain to climb in the second leg at Old Trafford.
“I think it is in our DNA that we always try to win,” he said.
“We always start the game only with the thought of victory.”