21 May 2015

Italy legend Paolo Maldini launches Miami team to rival David Beckham

Italy legend Paolo Maldini will rival David Beckham after launching his own football team in Miami.

Miami Football Club will play in the North American Soccer League - the second tier, below Major League Soccer.

Maldini, 46, will be the co-owner of the side that will provide competition for Beckham, who hopes to enter a Miami team into the MLS in future.

However, Beckham suffered a setback when plans to build a new 25,000-capacity stadium were rejected in 2014.

Beckham and Maldini briefly played together at AC Milan in 2009.

Television rights entrepreneur Riccardo Silva is also a co-owner of Miami FC, with the project backed by a group of international investors.

A statement said the club would play in "one of the existing world-class stadiums of Miami".

Maldini - who won the European Cup five times during a 24-year career with Milan - added: "I strongly believe in the growth of soccer in USA, and this is the perfect project to develop a top-class soccer team in one of the most important cities of the world.
"Miami has been my second home for 15 years, so I look forward to spending more and more time here.''
Maldini won 126 caps for Italy and reached the final of the World Cup in 1994 which was played in the United States

Beckham, 40, played for MLS side LA Galaxy from 2007 to 2012 and in February 2014 announced he was starting a new Miami-based franchise to play in the MLS.

But plans to build a new stadium on a city waterfront next to a basketball arena were rejected.

In February, Beckham remained confident of his project succeeding. He said: "Delays are frustrating but we will get it right and it will happen."

Credit: BBC Sport

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