It seems much of the English speaking soccer world is working itself up into a lather over whether the ageing David Beckham will play for AC Milan on Sunday against AS Roma. Beckham, on loan from the LA Galaxy, sought out the loan to stay sharp in order to stay in England manager Fabio Capello's future plans.
The real story behind tomorrow's match in the Stadio Olimpico is not Beckham but the chance to see a large portion of the Brazlian national player pool on the field at one time with 13 of them suiting up for the match. Add that to a mix of top talent from Italy and elsewhere and you're in for some attractive attacking soccer. If he sees the field, Becks better have his wheels on, lest he be left in the dust.
On the AC Milan side, you could see Dida in goal, Kaka and Emerson in midfield, with Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato up front in the attack (all served by Italy's "Brazilian" Andrea Pirlo).
With a whopping eight Brazilians in the lineup, AS Roma features an all-Brazilian goalkeeping corps of Doni, Julio Sergio, and Arthur. The defense is anchored by Juan and Cicinho with the recently-recovered Taddei and Filipe in midfield plus possibly Julio Baptista up top at forward.
Both teams need a win as Milan is sitting in third place on 33 points and needs to secure at least an automatic Champions League spot.
10th place Roma, with 23 points, has struggled with consistency this year. Now, with their talisman Francesco Totti out with a hamstring injury for at least the next month, they'll need to dig deep to top Milan tomorrow. The Rossoneri will need to overcome a road losing streak that has not seen them win away from home since a 1-0 win over Atalanta on October 26th.
But Roma is always tough to beat at home, having lost only once this season. Plus, with Milan missing mainstays defender Alessandro Nesta and defensive midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, I've got to give the edge to the Giallarossi.
(Full disclosure: I'm a former resident of a Roma neighborhood in Rome and my friends would beat me senseless if I predicted any other outcome).
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