MLS commissioner Don Garber, David Beckham and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez pose after a news conference in Miami, 5 January. Reuters
David Beckham confirmed he would be exercising his option for a new Major League Soccer expansion team, and no, the superstar's former manager Sir Alex Ferguson will not be at the helm.
Beckham had been reportedly keen on building his own side in the MLS, after his successful stint with the LA Galaxy, and the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder revealed the new franchise would be based in Miami.
"This is an exciting time for myself, my family, my friends and partners, and something we are really looking forward to bringing to Miami," Beckham said in a statement. "I wanted to create a team that we could start from scratch and I wanted to create a team that can be very personal.
"Everything I have done throughout my career has been very personal to me, the decisions I have made are all very personal. This is a big one but a very personal one, I want to make it my own team.
"Myself and my partners are very excited about this project. Miami is a vibrant, diverse community that thrives on the same type of energy that fuels the international appeal of soccer, and I look forward to a dedicated, long-term partnership with this dynamic city and Major League Soccer.
"There was a team here 10 years ago, which unfortunately folded. I know this city is ready for soccer this time around, I know this is going to be successful.
"My experience with the Galaxy is what convinced me that I wanted to one day own an MLS team and it is thrilling to now see that dream coming true.
"We are going to make a soccer club that is going to be loved by millions of people. We plan on bringing a team that is not just for Miami but is a global team."
Questions immediately turned to who would lead the club and if there would be any big names coming in, with the tantalising possibility of Ferguson, the Premier League's most successful manager, who recently retired from Manchester United, possibly taking over.
However, Beckham, whose partners include music mogul Simon Fuller, quickly played down those rumours. "He is a great manager and gave me the chance to play for my boyhood dream club but unfortunately he has retired," Beckham added. "We won't pull him out of retirement, I think he is enjoying that!"
Beckham confirmed the owners would fund their own stadium in Miami, with the new franchise expected to take shape by 2017. "I think three years is the objective because we're creating a soccer team from scratch," fellow owner Marcelo Claure. "We have to pick coaches, we have to involve the community, we have to pick a name, pick a jersey, we have to convince big-name players to come play for us.
"Three years is the minimum amount of time to be able to start a soccer team."
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