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Beckham, Anelka, Drogba return for knockouts

Former winners David Beckham, Nicolas Anelka, Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba are among 39 players newly registered in squads named by clubs for the knockout phase.

Squad changes ©AFP

The UEFA Champions League round of 16 contenders have finalised their squad changes for the knockout phase with the return of David Beckham and Didier Drogba to the competition among those confirmed.


Under articles 18.18-21 of the official regulations, clubs are allowed to register up to three new players by 1 February, one of whom can have been fielded in a UEFA club competition group stage match for another club in the current season provided he has not played in the UEFA Champions League. Clubs may not exceed the maximum of 25 A-list players and also remain within the quota of locally trained players (as per Annex VIII).

Notable among the players being added is Paris Saint-Germain FC signing David Beckham, part of Manchester United FC's 1999 winning squad but not involved in this competition since losing 4-0 at Old Trafford with AC Milan in the 2009/10 round of 16. PSG's opponents, Valencia CF, have added midfielder Sergio Canales after his recovery from injury as well as another player that missed the group stage squad, Alex Quintanilla.

Drogba left Chelsea FC following their triumph in Munich last May but having signed for Galatasaray AŞ from Shanghai Shenhua FC, he will now form part of the Turkish side's squad against FC Schalke 04. The German contenders themselves have included experienced loan player Michel Bastos among their additions.

Other familiar names returning to the UEFA Champions League include Drogba's former Chelsea and Shanghai colleague Nicolas Anelka at Juventus, Diego Lugano for Málaga CF, Borussia Dortmund's on-loan Nuri Şahin, and Real Madrid CF's Diego López, who previously played in goal for the club against Olympiacos FC in 2005/06. Only Celtic FC, FC Barcelona and FC Bayern München have no new players registered.

The list of newly registered players is here and also below under 'related items'.

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