Gandini dismisses Becks backlash
AC Milan are not expecting a backlash from LA Galaxy fans when the teams meet this summer.
Last Updated: 25/03/09 11:48am
AC Milan director Umberto Gandini does not expect a backlash from Los Angeles Galaxy fans over the David Beckham transfer saga when the two teams meet in California this summer.
Milan will kick off a US tour with a friendly against the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on 19th July, a match arranged as part of the David Beckham "timeshare" agreement between the two clubs.
England midfielder Beckham is scheduled to play for the Galaxy in what would be just his second game back with the Major League Soccer club following the end of his extended loan spell at the San Siro.
"He is a Galaxy player who is on loan at AC Milan so he will be playing for the Galaxy," Gandini said.
"I honestly don't expect (fan hostility) because the decision that has been taken by David has been taken with the co-operation of the Galaxy and the MLS.
"I would like to thank both the Galaxy and the MLS for awarding permission for David to stay with Milan until the end of the season. It was a decision that was very important for us in understanding David wanted to play in Europe for longer than expected."
Gandini was speaking in New York to announce details of a four-team tournament also involving Chelsea, Inter Milan and Mexico's Club America to be played across six US cities between July 19-26.
He said the tour would underline how important Beckham had been to Milan both on and off the pitch.
"This should be a great opportunity I think for soccer fans to see the reasons why Milan desired David Beckham to stay longer to the end of the season and unfortunately for the MLS for part of their season.
"And it's a good opportunity to understand how much David Beckham was instrumental in putting AC Milan back on the map in the US during this tour."
Milan face city rivals Inter for only their third derby game on foreign soil. The two Milan sides meet at the Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, near Boston, on 26th July, having played Club America in Atlanta on 22nd July and Chelsea in Baltimore on 24th July.
Inter, meanwhile, open their campaign against the Mexicans near San Francisco at the Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California, on Sunday 19th July and play Chelsea on 21st July at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
"This is a magnificent opportunity to start the season on the right foot," Gandini said.
"For the first time in 40 years there will be a Milan derby played overseas and only the third time outside of the San Siro Stadium."