David Beckham FINALLY launches his MLS franchise after three years of wrangling.
The former England captain talked emotionally at a glitzy press conference about becoming the owner of a team he hopes to help become ‘one of the best in the world’.
A video flashed good luck messages from the likes of Usain Bolt and Neymar, but the confirmation that a team in Miami will become the 25th franchise and begin playing in 2020 failed to highlight a number of issues which have dogged the plans ever since it was announced in February 2014.
No team name was announced and it wasn’t mentioned that the controversial stadium site in Overtown (a deprived part of downtown Miami) has left residents furious at the planned building of a 25,000 multi-purpose arena.
The problems had left the 42-year-old fearing the worst, particularly as legal action has been launched over the sale of the site.
‘It’s been painful at times,’ Beckham admitted.
However, he could hardly conceal his joy at finally sealing the deal and although he admitted his phone has been red hot with ‘top players from Europe’ wanting to know about his plans, he stressed his desire of creating an academy system that Miami would be proud of.
He wants to recreate the famous Class of ‘92 at Old Trafford and although he ruled out a move to appoint best friend Gary Neville, Beckham added:’I have already had so many calls from top players and of course you need to bring some superstars in. There are so many names I would love to bring in.
‘We want to reach for the stars. Miami needs a star and that’s what we plan on doing.
‘Cristiano Ronaldo? You’d have to ask him but my dream is to create a state-of-the art academy where we have a hotbed of talent and bring kids through just like we did at United.
‘That will make us so proud.We were unique group of kids who saved United so much money over the years.
‘We all came in during 1992 and were very successful. We were only successful because of the players we came in with — Roy Keane, Eric Cantona etc as well as a manager like Alex Ferguson .
Our fans support has been relentless and that’s what our club will be built on. Something to be proud of.
‘I have had calls from so many players, top players saying, I am in. Yes we want to bring in top players from all over the world but we are most interested in home grown players. We want to build an academy, to bring players through, young kids from the area. To watch them develop as players. That’s when we will sit back and say “job done”. That we are proud of this time. We have to invest into the hotbed of talent in this city.
‘We didn’t have the right local partners, passion for the sport, city and people. After just 30 seconds of meeting the Mas brothers I knew this would happen.