David Beckham has confirmed he will buy a team to play Major League Soccer and bring it to Miami, confirming the worst-kept secret in world football.
The former England and Manchester United star said he already has major players in the game phoning him up, pledging to create a “global team” like the European clubs where he made his name.
“I wanted to create a team where we can start from scratch,” Beckham said, explaining his decision to bring the expanding league’s 22nd soccer club to Miami.
“I know there was a team here 10 years ago that unfortunately folded, but I know that Miami is ready for football again,” he said.
“I wanted to create a team that would be very personal to me.”
“We’re planning to bring a team that will be a global team,” he said, arguing that in the past 10 years American soccer has made huge progress as both a sport and a business.
He said one of his partners would be British pop music and television impresario Simon Fuller, who managed Beckham’s wife Victoria when she sang with the Spice Girls.
Beckham, who reportedly paid a cut price $US25 million for the franchise, said his wife and family would join him in Miami.
“This is going to be a people’s team,” he told a throng of media at an art museum in downtown Miami, as a helicopter and a small plane buzzed overhead.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star said he had high hopes for the MLS, where he featured for LA Galaxy before retiring last year following a stint with Paris Saint-Germain.
“I’ve seen the change over the last 10 years. I’ve seen the change in this league, the interest in this league,” the 38-year-old said, as fans chanted his name.
“We want to bring some of the best football players in the world, great players, to this team. Players are already interested in coming to Miami.
“We are very excited about this project. Miami is a vibrant city and a city with a lot of passion. I know this city is ready for football, for soccer.
“I’m going to work hard to make this team very successful. It’s an exciting time.
“We want to create a football club that is a people’s football club. This is a dream… I’ve lived the dream.”
Asked if his manager at Manchester United, Alex Ferguson, had been in contact over a coaching role, Beckham said: “Funnily enough no, he didn’t call me or text me.”
The pair famously fell out and Ferguson shipped Beckham out to Real Madrid, although relations have warmed since.
Beckham spoke to reporters alongside MLS commissioner Don Garber, who said Beckham and the league would work with Miami Dade county to build a world-class downtown stadium for the new club.
Beckham thanked Garber and Miami Dade’s Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and said he would not seek public funding for the team’s stadium, having raised money from private partners.