There's been so much hype surrounding David Beckham in the lead-up to tonight's game. But don't discount Milan's other men. Here we take a look at seven of the Rossoneri's best... and we've not even mentioned the likes of Seedorf, Dida, Zambrotta and Inzaghi.
From annus horribilis to annus mirabilis: the elegant defender played just 14 minutes of first-team football in 2008/09, a protruding disc suffered in close season crushing two vertebrae. But after career-saving surgery, the 33-year-old made his comeback late in the final league game last May. Now fully recovered, he’s been in great form and has even bagged a career-best three goals so far this term. "I now appreciate even the most boring things in football," says the reborn star.
For years fans have argued over what to call Andrea Pirlo: deep-lying midfielder, regista, trequartista, base playmaker... take your pick – but his status as the brains of the Rossoneri is beyond doubt. The 30 year-old dictates the side’s rhythm with his distribution and serenity under pressure. As his coach Leonardo says: “Pirlo is very important to this team. He can do everything. He is part of a recent, victorious history and is untouchable.” But not immovable. The 2006 World Cup winner was stationed a few yards ahead of his own centre-backs during Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan tenure, but operates nearer the centre-circle for Leonardo. When the Rossoneri attack, United must not allow this sharp-shooter space in his new advanced position.
Not long ago this cheerful chap was dancing towards legendary status with Barcelona. But then he lost focus (and gained weight). Barca sold him to Milan in 2008, convinced the disco-loving ace was spent. In his first season with the Rossoneri ‘Dinho’ started well before fading after the winter break. But in 2009/10 the 29-year-old is rejuvenated. He scored two in the Champions League group stage and more recently followed a two-goal blast at Juventus with a hat-trick against Siena. The legs are a bit slower, but the mastery of the ball and vision to spot things beyond mere mortals remain. "Physically I feel very good, like during my Barcelona spell. I have returned to how I was before, maybe even better," says the man with more tricks than Houdini.