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Miami voters OK path for Beckham’s stadium, complex

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MIAMI (AP) David Beckham’s long-planned soccer stadium deal is closer to reality.

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Miami voters gave city officials permission Tuesday to negotiate a no-bid lease deal with Beckham’s group, which wants to build a Major League Soccer complex on what has been a public golf course. Beckham’s group is also planning to have technology offices, a hotel and retail space on the land, in return for guaranteeing the city about $3.6 million in rent annually.

It’s not a done deal: Now the retired soccer star and his partners must negotiate the terms with city officials for the 25,000-seat stadium and transforming the rest of what is now the Melreese Country Club into a 58-acre (23-hectare) public park.

Tuesday’s win was the first big one for Beckham’s club, officially named Club Internacional de Futbol Miami – or Inter Miami. Beckham has considered and wanted several other sites over the years, before turning his attention to Melreese in recent months.

“I started this dream five and a half years ago … to bring a team to Miami, to bring a team to this great city,” Beckham said at a rally Tuesday night. “To bring a team to you, the people. We’ve had some speed bumps along the way. We’ve had a few problems along the way.”

Beckham’s group has also committed to spend about $35 million to clean up toxic waste at the site and pay a living wage for employees.

The land deal had critics on multiple fronts, with some like Miami native and longtime pro golfer Erik Compton asking voters to save the course and others filing legal challenges saying the city is required to not only have competitive bidding but to get fair market value when selling or leasing property.

“On behalf of all of us at Major League Soccer, we thank the community for its support, and Miami city officials for their leadership,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber wrote in a thread on Twitter.

Beckham is a global icon when it comes to soccer, entertainment and fashion. He started his career with Manchester United and also played for Real Madrid, the Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. He was a fixture in international matches for England for years and won four championships in four different leagues around the globe.

“We’ve proved to the world that persistence, patience, makes things happen,” Beckham said. “We are going to bring a championship winning team. We are going to bring great players. We are going to create homegrown talent.”

Reports: Beckham’s Inter Miami wins stadium site vote

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More good news for David Beckham’s long-delayed Major League Soccer project.

Miami voters have given a big bump to Inter Miami CF’s Freedom Park project, which includes a 25,000 seat soccer stadium, shopping mall, and hotel.

[ MORE: USMNT’s 28-man roster released ]

According to the AP:

Voters on Tuesday agreed to allow Beckham and his partners to skip competitive bidding and negotiate directly with the city on a 99-year lease to convert a 73-acre (30-hectare) golf course into the soccer complex.

Inter Miami has been linked with managers like Zinedine Zidane and players as high profile as Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo, but has faced an uphill fight to get its stadium in the face of a country club’s lawsuit.

The Melreese Country Club has a golf course near the stadium site, and was not too happy with Beckham’s plans to bring more traffic to the area.

Report: Beckham holds preliminary talks with Zidane for Miami job

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Plenty of big names have been linked with a spot on the inaugural 2020 Inter Miami CF team, but few have actually gained significant traction. Until now.

According to The Mirror in England, David Beckham has already held “preliminary talks” with former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, who resigned from the Spanish giants after winning three consecutive Champions League titles.

The report states that Zidane still prefers a job in Europe, with Manchester United mentioned as a job he covets, but says the longer Zidane remains on the market without a job, the better a odds Beckham has of convincing the Frenchman to make the switch to the United States.

Capturing Zidane would be a historic signing, but there is precedent for a manager of his caliber to come to Major League Soccer. Atlanta United snagged Tata Martino as manager for the club’s inaugural season, and under his guidance the club immediately became a force to be reckoned with. Before coming to MLS, Martino managed both Barcelona and the Argentinian national team, finishing second in his one La Liga season in charge of Barcelona and reaching (and losing) the finals of both the 2015 and 2016 Copa America tournaments with Argentina.

Zidane, however, not only comes with pedigree both as a former player and a manager, but has the star power Beckham is clearly hoping to bring to Miami. Other names linked with Miami are both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who would be 32 and 35 by the start of the 2020 season.

Beckham and Zidane were once teammates with Real Madrid, playing together for three seasons between 2003 and 2006.

Griezmann up for MLS adventure with LA or Beckham’s Miami

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Antoine Griezmann could be handing out L’s on either coast of the United States.

The Atletico Madrid and France superstar, 27, said he’d play for Inter Miami “if he wants me,” referring to Inter owner David Beckham.

[ USMNT-BRAZIL: Full recap | Player ratings ]

Inter revealed its name and logo earlier this week.

Griezmann signed a new contract with Atleti through 2023.

“If Beckham wants me in his club, then I’ll go. I want to finish my career in the US. I don’t know yet if it’s going to be in Miami or Los Angeles. They are two great cities. I like the mentality and the show culture of the U.S.”

The show culture!

If Beckham wants to make a splash, though, shattering the MLS transfer record to bring Griezmann to the United States sure would do the trick.

Griezmann has not failed to score more than 20 goals in his last five seasons, the first at Real Sociedad and the last four at Atleti. He’s added 24 in 61 caps for France.

Beckham’s Miami MLS team reveals name, logo

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Club Internacional de Futbol Miami.

Welcome to Major League Soccer.

David Beckham’s Miami MLS franchise revealed its team name and logo on Wednesday, and they’re both sublime.

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The team will be known more commonly as Inter Miami CF and per a statement released on their website, they believe the team name and logo fits perfectly with the international feel of South Florida.

“Our city and our fans draw their strength from the dreams of a global population that calls Miami home. It is only fitting that our name pays tribute to the inclusiveness that makes us who we are,” Managing Owner Jorge Mas said.

As for Beckham, his long-term project (Miami was originally awarded an expansion franchise in 2014) is taking shape as they plan for their arrival in MLS in 2020.

“Club Internacional de Fuutbol Miami is a name that celebrates the incredible energy of one of the most exciting cities in the world – one that is diverse, passionate and ambitious – a city that has welcomed me and so many others, so warmly,” Beckham said. “Our club will be a home for all – no matter where you are from or how you got here. This is just the beginning of our journey as we continue to build towards our first game in 2020.”

Recent expansion teams in MLS have gone with very similar sounding names: Atlanta United, Minnesota United, LA FC, Austin FC.

Miami has blown them all out of the water with their originality and a tip of the cap to their citizens. The logo may look a little quirky to some, but it screams Florida and certainly has enough color to make it stand out from the crowd.

All in all, it has taken Beckham and Co. a long time to release a team name and logo amid plenty of uncertainty along the way if there would ever actually be a team in Miami. It was certainly worth the wait.

Up next: getting the soccer-specific stadium deal sorted ahead of their entry to MLS in 2020. There is a key referendum in November regarding the plans to build a 25,000 capacity venue at Freedom Park. After several failed attempts to build Inter Miami a home across Miami, it looked like a site at Overtown would perfect, but now the Freedom Park site, close to Miami International Airport, has emerged as the frontrunner.