David Beckham has revealed his dream of playing for England in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ was the motivation behind his desire to stay with AC Milan. After weeks of negotiations, the midfielder extended his loan with I Rossoneri from Los Angeles Galaxy until the end of the Italian season, in an attempt to prove to Three Lions coach Fabio Capello that he can still perform at the highest level.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid player is desperate to have one last crack at winning the FIFA World Cup, but he had been reduced to a bit-part role for England since his move to Major League Soccer. His switch to the San Siro has kept Beckham in Capello's thoughts, and he made a record-equalling 108th England appearance in last month's friendly with Spain.
Beckham, 33, will return to California to see out the rest of the MLS season after finishing Milan's campaign. He is set to return to Italy for the 2009/10 season, providing him with a platform to impress Capello, and he believes staying with Milan will help his England ambitions.
"There's a few reasons for staying with Milan. One is I'm playing with one of the biggest clubs in the world and with some of the best players in the world. I'm passionate about that," Beckham told the BBC.
Everyone knows how passionate I am about playing for my country and if this gives me a better chance of being involved in that squad that's great
"Obviously the one everyone talks about is it gives me a chance to play in the 2010 World Cup. I personally have to do everything I can to be involved in that. Everyone knows how passionate I am about playing for my country and if this gives me a better chance of being involved in that squad that's great."
"I've done really well in my career and played for so many great clubs. I've been able to help myself stay in Milan, if I can put it that way. That is the big thing for me. It's never been about money for me. It's been about football and my passion for the game. Hopefully this has shown it.
"Everybody knew how much I wanted this to happen, and how much I wanted to stay and play my football in Milan. Obviously the Galaxy have been great and Milan have been great. I want to stay in Milan to help the club qualify for the Champions League. It also gives me a chance to go back to LA and finish the season. It is something I am very committed to. Then after that we will see."
Beckham insisted his move to California has not been a mistake. "People have always asked me if I've regretted my decision. Throughout my career I've never wanted regrets and I've always said no," he said.
"At the time I felt it was the right thing to do. I've had two great years with the Galaxy. We might not have been successful on the field but statistics show the game has grown. If we continue to have the success we've had with attendances and the interest in the game, that will be positive and a sign that the game is moving forward."