MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS FOR BECKS

STEVE BRENNER IN MIAMI

There was no name. No badge. Not even a mention of a stadium. Yet just the mere presence of David Beckham was enough to get the MLS party started in Miami.

“It is with tremendous pride that we welcome Miami to Major League Soccer,” Commissioner Don Garber said.

And with that, the 300 members of the Southern Legion, a very excitable fan group who’ve been dreaming about this moment ever since Beckham first went public with his intentions on February 5th 2014, boomed out their delight, serenading the former England captain and members of his ownership group. In 2020, they will finally see this team take to the field.

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BECKHAM’S MIAMI PROBLEM

 

STEVE BRENNER IN MIAMI

It’s approaching four years – 1,454 days to be exact – since David Beckham flashed that knowing smile and announced his intentions to bring Major League Soccer to Miami.

What has transpired since, however, has been a severe kick in the Golden Balls.

Beckham is poised to announce here in the “Magic City” on Monday that he’s finally ticked all the boxes to become the owner of MLS’s 25th franchise.

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MADDMAN INDEED

BY STEVE BRENNER

Steve Madden is exhausted.

A whirlwind tour to promote Maddman: The Steve Madden Story — a brilliant and unexpected film that delves into the life of the irrepressible shoe czar — has led him to one of his namesake stores in South Beach. It’s one of more than 100 locations in the United States and 250 in 65-plus countries worldwide.

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EL CLASICO COMES TO MIAMI

STEVE BRENNER

MIAMI — An excitable, well-heeled crowd gathered in the Brickell City Centre shopping complex, camera phones poised.

Paolo Maldini, the legendary Italian soccer player, smiled back. He was in good company: a handful of current stars of the world game — Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andrés Iniesta and Luis Suárez — were there, too.

Well, at least their faces were. Faces made out of moss.

“Soccer is the most powerful sport in the world,” said Paloma Teppa, the founder of the botanical art gallery Plant the Future, who had created the works with the local muralist Andrew Antonaccio. “So combining it with Mother Nature is a wonderful thing.”

Teppa, an Argentine, said she was unsure if any of the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in town for a match this weekend had seen the portraits, but it hardly seemed to matter.

The seeds of soccer fascination had been sown wide here for the past few weeks as everyone, it seems — artists and performers, reporters and marketers, small shops and big brands — tried to attach themselves to Saturday night’s big show: a highly priced matchup between Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona at Hard Rock Stadium. A total of 66,014 people were said to attend, some of them paying $500— or much, much more — for the chance to watch Barcelona’s 3-2 win from the stadium’s upper reaches.

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ZIKA BITES IN MIAMI

 

FROM STEVE BRENNER, MIAMI

Antoine Delgado wasn’t all that nervous about Hurricane Matthew. Hurricanes come with the territory when running a restaurant in Miami. But what came after did worry the owner of Brasserie Azur and Villa Azur in Miami: Zika.

It was last summer and the Zika scare was swarming Miami. The epicenter was the hipster Wynwood Arts district – just a mile away from Delgado’s Midtown eatery. Diners stayed in rather than brave the mosquitos and potential of infection. Sales took a nosedive. Then it got even more personal — one of Delgado’s employees became infected.

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McGUIGAN WANTS INSTANT REDEMPTION

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STEVE BRENNER AT THE MGM GRAND

Barry McGuigan was not in the mood for false promises. Carl Frampton, the Northern Irishman he reveres like a son, had just fallen to the first defeat of his 24-fight career and had the WBA featherweight title won so brilliantly six months ago in New York wrestled from his grasp by Leo Santa Cruz, the man who was felled on that raucous Barclays Center evening.

No one was begrudging the Mexican his moment of triumph. Santa Cruz was excellent, unleashing to perfection a game plan which forced Frampton to abandon his preferred counter-punching role and instead act as the aggressor.

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