David Beckham has revealed he has missed playing football "at the highest level" after being presented as an AC Milan player.
Beckham has negotiated a three-month loan deal from Los Angeles Galaxy to the Serie A giants in a bid to remain match fit and stay in the thoughts of England manager Fabio Capello.
And the former England captain admitted that a move to Milan represented a move back into the mainstream.
"Moving to America was a big step for me because there were a lot of people who were criticising the move, but I still believe it was a move where I wanted to challenge myself and I was able to challenge myself in different ways," Beckham told a press conference in Milan.
"But I have always said that I would always miss playing at the highest level. I'm not saying that in America they won't get to the highest level - it will take time and it will happen - but with five months off during the season I personally can't do that.
"I needed to be able to be playing top-flight football to keep myself fit, to keep myself in contention for other things that are going on."
Beckham will be in the stands to watch his new team take on Udinese on Sunday
He will then join them at a training camp in Dubai and could make his debut when the Serie A season resumes with a trip to Roma on 11th January.
The former Manchester United midfielder added: "I'm really happy to be here, it is a great honour. I hope to add to the team, I hope to give everything that I've always given in my career and it's a huge honour.
"To be able to have the chance to play for another one of the biggest clubs in the world...I've played for the biggest club in England, the biggest club in Spain and now I'm going to be playing for the biggest club in Italy.
"I've been very lucky in my career to have done that, and I'm just going to enjoy it because I think to be given this opportunity is incredible."
Beckham added he was delighted to join what is already a glittering array of talent in the Milan dressing room but insists he does not expect to be an automatic inclusion in coach Carlo Ancelotti's line-up.
He said: "I wouldn't have taken this opportunity if I didn't think I could help the team. It's not about anything else apart from the football. I've come here to play with some of the best players in the world.
"To be able to step on to the training field with Kaka, [Andrea] Pirlo, [Paolo] Maldini, Ronaldinho...there's so many players that I've always watched and played against but never played with.
"There's some great players out there and I don't expect to walk in on the first day and be starting in the team, it doesn't happen like that. I'm going work hard in training, I'm going to get my fitness - because I need to - and then once I'm fit, hopefully I can get some time in the team, and hopefully help."
Will David Beckham be a success in Italy?