Miami

AP

Beckham dreams of bringing Ronaldo, Messi to MLS, Miami

Leave a comment

David Beckham is dreaming big for his Major League Soccer franchise in Miami.

Really big.

Hot on the heels of announcing that he hopes Inter Miami CF will play at a revamped Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale for their first two seasons in MLS, Becks has been chatting about potential players he’d like to bring to MIA.

Here is what Beckham had to say via our partners at Sky Sports:

“Everyone has their wish list, everyone does, but if you look at the way Leo and Cristiano are still playing, even at what you might think is the later stage of their careers, I don’t see it ending for them,” Beckham said. “They’re playing at such a high level that it’s hard to see them leaving the clubs they are at, but we will see. You never know what can happen in football.”

Now, we all knew this kind of talk was coming. Beckham added Inter Miami are looking closely at players to sign and are speeding things up with just 12 months until their first MLS game.

Beckham’s name has a certain pull and if he is the co-owner of a franchise it is one for reason: to make it as successful and glamorous as possible. The fact he owns a team in Miami which will enter MLS in 2020 amplifies the glitz and glamour.

Would Ronaldo and/or Messi need a lot of convincing to head to Miami for the final few years of their careers? Probs not.

But it seems like Ronaldo would be a lot more attainable than Messi. At least right now, and especially when you factor in that his contract with Juventus is up in the summer of 2022.

That should line up perfectly with the timeframe for Miami’s proposed soccer-specific stadium deal in Freedom Park being ready for Ronaldo to call it home.

Because, let’s be honest, can you see one of these guys playing in front of 18,000 fans at a temporary home at Lockhart Stadium? Yeah, not going to happen.

Ronaldo is 34. Messi is 31. Who’s to say they both won’t play for Miami three years apart? Ronaldo has already said he wants to play until he is 40, and it is highly likely he will. As for Messi, he’s been a one-club man and it is unclear whether or not he will see much point in not playing for Barcelona his entire career.

With the Man United connection, Ronaldo heading to Miami to play for Beckham makes so much sense on so many levels.

La Liga takes Spanish FA to court over game in U.S.

Getty Images
Leave a comment

La Liga president Javier Tebas is following through on threats that he’ll take legal action to force through a league match in the U.S.

The Spanish top flight confirmed to the BBC that it had filed a lawsuit in Madrid, effectively trying to use legal means to force through an approval from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). “La Liga has taken a case to court in Madrid and expect a resolution in the coming days or weeks,” a league spokesperson said, via the BBC.

[Premier League Preview: Manchester City vs. Bournemouth]

After announcing a 15-year deal with U.S. based sports marketing giant Relevant Sports to promote La Liga in the U.S. and elsewhere outside of Spain, La Liga revealed its intention to play a league match outside its sovereign shores. Barcelona and Girona agreed to move the return fixture, originally set to be in Girona, to Miami on January 26.

However, both the RFEF and FIFA have announced that they won’t approve this match played outside of Spain. La Liga needs approval from the RFEF, FIFA and U.S. Soccer before it can actually stage the game, and with less than two months to go, La Liga needs a decision one way or another.

It’s a bit embarrassing that both La Liga and Relevant Sports didn’t do any politiking or sounding out the necessary federations to get approval before announcing the idea, making the league look like it lacks organization and a plan. Of course, what might work in La Liga’s favor is the upcoming Copa Libertadores Final, set to take place in Madrid on December 9. Although it was moved due to quite extraordinary circumstances, the fact that it’s set to take place outside of CONMEBOL’s jurisdiction could provide La Liga with the loophole to force a league match outside of its borders.

Miami voters OK path for Beckham’s stadium, complex

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

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.”

FIFA not happy with La Liga’s USA plans

Getty Images
Leave a comment

President of FIFA Gianni Infantino doesn’t seem impressed with La Liga’s plans to play a regular-season game in Miami in January, 2019.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live

Barcelona, Girona and La Liga have applied to the Spanish Football Federation to move their match on Jan. 26, 2019 from Girona’s home stadium to Miami, Florida in a bid to attract new fans.

It would be the first-ever La Liga game played overseas, but Infantino isn’t a fan of the idea.

“I think I would prefer to see a great MLS game in the U.S. rather than La Liga being in the U.S,” Infantino said in a statement to ESPN. “In football, the general principle is that you play a ‘home’ match at ‘home’, and not in a foreign country. There are procedures in place for these things, so we will wait to receive anything official and then we’ll look into it. There are rules, regulations, that everyone complies with. In particular, such a proposal has to be approved by the respective associations, by the respective confederations and FIFA should also express a view on the matter, not least since it would have implications for football at global level as well.”

With FIFA having to approve the move, is that the end of this?

Probably not, but it is clear that this game would cause plenty of problems as the Spanish players’ union have already expressed serious concerns about moving games to the U.S. and elsewhere to try and grow their global brand.

The head of La Liga, Javier Tebas, has hit out at Infantino about his comments and clearly wants to game to go ahead. Yet U.S. Soccer, CONCACAF, the Spanish Football Federation and FIFA would all have to give it the thumbs up.

“I will remind the President of,  that in the , 3 teams of Canada participate, and he T is the current champion, and also in Canada there is another professional league,” Tebas said.

I see where Tebas is coming from but come on, comparing teams from Spain to Canada  playing games in the USA is a huge stretch. It appears La Liga remains desperate for this idea to work but there’s certainly a lot of schmoozing that needs to be done in the coming months to make a Spanish top-flight game in Miami a reality.

Beckham’s Miami MLS team reveals name, logo

Getty Images
3 Comments

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.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

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.