Beckham widely praised on Milan return

January 6, 2010

MILAN -- David Beckham began his second stint with AC Milan on Wednesday night, playing 76 minutes and positioned at forward rather than his usual midfield during his team's 5-2 victory over Genoa in the Italian league.

The English star lined up on the right side of an attacking trio with Marco Borriello and Ronaldinho. He came close to scoring in the first half, his long shot hitting the side netting.

"He had a week where we tried him in every role [in training]," coach Leonardo told Sky television. "I think that is the synthesis of what he is all about. He has an absolute willingness to help, extraordinary quality and tactical intelligence."

Beckham, on loan from Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, is looking to sharpen his game leading to the World Cup in South Africa.

In the third minute, Beckham crossed to Borriello, but Genoa's Marco Amelia pushed away the shot from close range shot.

Milan won behind penalty kicks from Ronaldinho and Klaas Jan Huntelaar, two goals by Borriello and another by Thiago Silva. Giuseppe Sculli and David Suazo scored for Genoa.

Beckham, 34, turned down Ronaldinho's offer to take a penalty at 4-1 and the ball was given to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, short of goals since his move from Real Madrid in August.

"Beckham, just like last season, has been a great acquisition. He is a superb player and a superb person," Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani said. "He earns very little from us. He came to Milan for all different reasons than money."

AC Milan (10-3-4) moved into second place in Serie A with 34 points, eight behind Inter (13-2-3), which won 1-0 at Chievo Verona on Mario Balotelli's 12th-minute goal.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.