Becham and Claure take in a recent Miami Heat game, as the Bolivian businessman revealed when they expect Miami to enter MLS.

MLS expansion in Florida set for 2016?


A double dose of MLS could be coming to Florida. The power of David Beckham knows no bounds.

Becks has been in Miami over the past weekend checking out potential venues for a new MLS franchise and meeting with billionaire investors — pictured right, with Bolivian businessman Marcelo Claure at a Miami Heat game — who want to help get an MLS side in Miami off the ground.

But according to reports, Miami will be joined by Floridian neighbors Orlando when MLS arrives in 2016. Now wouldn’t that be something?

However soccer fans in the southeast will have heard plenty of these rumors and exclusives over the years, but this one could be closer to the mark.

Over at the Scoring Third, Adam Henckler spoke to MLS VP of Communications, Dan Courtemanche, with some follow up questions to stories he had heard. Quite an interesting response followed.

While we are pleased to see strong interest in potential Major League Soccer expansion, we do not have a specific plan yet for adding new teams. We are pleased with the recent addition of New York City FC and will be addressing future expansion in the near future.

That last sentence was very interesting indeed, as Don Garber has recently suggested that MLS would take a breather from expansion talks and focus solely on the New York City FC franchise. It seems that those plans may have changed.

With Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs recently announcing that Orlando City’s plans for a new soccer-specific stadium would be “fast-tracked” and Beckham’s trip to Miami, MLS may believe now is the right time to move back to Florida.

We don’t need reminding how the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny turned out. But that was then, this is now.

The league and individual clubs have learned from the mistakes those franchises made, that certainly won’t happen again in Florida.

But with Miami set to play on Florida International’s campus for the first few years of their existence, if they get the green light, and Orlando’s stadium deal still far from complete, there are significant hurdles to overcome. However now it seems as if there’s light at the end of the tunnel for having two Major League Soccer franchises in Florida.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.