David Beckham stressed on Friday that his close friendship with Phil Neville wasn’t behind the former England women’s coach’s arrival as Inter Miami boss.
Neville and Beckham played together for Manchester United and England with the pair remaining close having both risen through the ranks at Old Trafford along with the likes of brother Gary, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
Yet despite their relationship and how the appointment may be perceived, Beckham, who has been able to take a far more hands-on role in Miami since arriving in South Florida at Christmas, insists Neville is the perfect choice for his Major League Soccer franchise.
Neville, who has never held a head coach role in the men’s game after three years working for England’s women, snubbed the chance to lead Great Britain’s women’s team at the Tokyo Olympics and heads to Miami on a two-year deal.
FROM STEVE BRENNER AT THE BANC OF CALIFORNIA STADIUM
It went, for the most part, as expected. Inter Miami owner David Beckham looked resplendent in a dashing Ralph Lauren suit with a club crest taking pride of place on his blazer.
The former England captain’s wife Victoria and son Brooklyn arrived to offer moral support while celebrity chef, and, lest you forget, former player Gordon Ramsay also appeared in the posh seats. Whether he was cheering on Major League Soccer’s latest team or serving up some post-match roast chicken was unclear.
And so, finally, David Beckham’s moment has arrived.
Here in the City of Angels, the former England captain will be in a private version of footballing heaven as his Inter Miami Major League Soccer expansion team roll out for their first competitive match.
Last season’s high-fliers Los Angeles FC are the opponents – and it could be a chastening afternoon for the MLS new-boys.
When David Beckham’s Inter Miami take to the field at the Banc of California stadium on Sunday night, six arduous years of crippling uncertainty will melt away.
The former England captain never thought it would be like this, yet the Miami political landscape is far trickier to beat than a well positioned defensive wall with a curling free-kick, something the 44-year-old did so wonderfully during his stellar playing days.
RAFA NADAL edged closer to Roger Federer’s Grand Slam record tally – but not before brilliant Daniil Medvedev gave him one hell of fright.
The super Spaniard eventually saw off tricky Russian Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7 4-6, 6-2 to bag his 19th major – and fourth US Open crown – to move just one behind Fed in the race to become the most successful player in history.
Yet an astonishing, drama packed ending saw an initially predictable final amazingly spark into life.