Milan: We're desperate to keep Beckham

AC Milan have admitted that they are desperate to keep David Beckham at the San Siro, giving the former England skipper a resounding endorsement by adding him to their UEFA Cup squad.

Beckham played another starring role for Milan by setting up two of the three goals in a 3-0 victory over Lazio at the Olympic Stadium. The win meant Milan remain unbeaten in the five matches since the 33-year-old joined on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder has also scored twice.  Beckham's influence has been such that he has been included in Milan's 25-man squad for the UEFA Cup knockout stages, even though he will only be able to play in the next round if he returns to the USA on 9 March as anticipated.

"We've put him on the UEFA list because we have a contract and he's doing very well," said Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti. "I want to pick him for the two matches against Werder Bremen."

We're desperate to sign him and I will keep hoping until the last possible moment,
AC Milan Vice-president Adriano Galliani

Vice-president Adriano Galliani has also been singing Beckham's praises. "We're desperate to sign him and I will keep hoping until the last possible moment," said Galliani.

"When he first came to us I thought he would do well but I never thought to such a degree. It would be terrible to lose him so we'll make little overtures to try to keep hold of him and then our fans can have a great party when Beckham stays."

It's not just the club hierarchy who have been impressed with the former England captain's contribution, his team-mates have too. Midfield playmaker Andrea Pirlo, who has had to give up much of the deadball duties to the new arrival, has only positive things to say about Beckham. "He's an intelligent guy, he plays football on instinct, has fitted in well and is helping us out," said Pirlo.

Beckham has refused to discuss his long-term future, preferring to concentrate on helping his new team cut Inter Milan's six-point lead at the top.

"I love coming to Rome," said Beckham about his man-of-the-match performance in the capital. "We needed to win this match so I'm very happy with that. It's important to keep the pressure on Inter because they're the leaders and they're playing good football."

With the Milan derby only two weeks away, that match could take on even greater significance if Milan can keep close to their city rivals, although Beckham said he and his team won't get ahead of themselves.

"It's important not to worry too much about other teams. If we win our games then we have a chance of catching the leaders," he added. "It (the derby) is a big game and I'm looking forward to it but the most important game is next week's and when we've played that game we'll think about the derby."