Miami futbol fans salivating over the Spain vs. Haiti friendly next month at Sun Life Stadium may want to put on their adult diapers before reading this headline: David Beckham himself is coming to Miami this week to meet a billionaire financier to discuss bringing a Major League Soccer franchise back to the Magic City.
Beckham, who just retired from playing, is keen to own his own MLS team and Miami-based Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure might be the money man to make it happen.
Unlike most shady soccer rumor-mongering, it's pretty clear that Beckham will in fact be in town this week and will be meeting with Claure.
None other than former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz confirms the news to Reuters, telling them, "Yes, he is coming. My understanding is that it's very exploratory at this stage."
The partnership would make some sense. As part of his deal to come to the Los Angeles Galaxy, Becks was given the option to create a new franchise after his playing days were finished. (Beckham just retired from a last stint at Paris Saint-Germain last week)
Claure, meanwhile, lined up a bid to partner with Barcelona FC for a Miami team back in 2009 before pulling out over concerns about the shaky economy.
Beckham and the billionaire will reportedly hang out in the stands at Thursday's Game Five of the Heat-Pacers series. A fan group called MLS Miami Bid -- which has more than 3,000 supporters on Facebook -- is planning a rally outside the game to show support for a new franchise in town.
Worth mentioning amidst all the excitement: Miami had one crack at the MLS already, but the Fusion were contracted back in 2002 after four years of lukewarm support and shaky financial management. Would the league really give the 305 a second shot?
If Beckham decides Miami is where he wants to hang his hat -- and given his heavily discounted $25 million option to open a new franchise -- league officials may not have much choice but to give him the chance.
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