MLS will have a new team in 2015. New York City FC will be majority owned by Premier League Manchester City and partially funded with investment from the New York Yankees. A global sports mega-brand is in the offing.
Read Tuesday's press release here.
The news has excited football fans all over the world and upset a few, too—especially those who believe the southeast U.S. was more deserving of an expansion MLS franchise than the New York area (consolation may be on the way if David Beckham buys a franchise down that way, of course).
What we know so far is the team will compete for the first time in 2015 and be located inside the five boroughs of New York City. The grand plan is to build a new stadium in New York, but that won't be ready in time for their launch.
"New York City FC is committed to seeking a new permanent stadium in New York," read the statement on that matter. "Until that time, the new team is arranging to play in an interim home beginning in its inaugural MLS season in 2015."
In the meantime, the speculation begins as to who might be play for the inaugural NYC FC team. You can be sure they'll try and launch with some big names. Here are six who might be considered candidates to do for New York what Beckham did for soccer in L.A.
Current club: Paris Saint-Germain
Contract ends: July 2015
Assuming Ibrahimovic sees out his current PSG deal, the endlessly entertaining striker will be 33 and perhaps looking for one last challenge around the time New York FC begin their story in 2015.
Zlatan's global profile is huge, almost as big as his ego. He's already starred in Amsterdam, Turin, Barcelona, Milan and Paris and may well see appeal in making one last splash in the city that never sleeps.
Providing he stays free of injury, Ibra would still be close to the top of his game. The fans would love him in New York.
Current club: Chelsea
Contract ends: May 2014
Lampard was linked with a move to MLS with the L.A. Galaxy in January (foxsports.com). It didn't happen, and he went on to play an influential part in Chelsea's drive to Champions League qualification and Europa League triumph.
He was rewarded with a new one-year deal recently. It wouldn't be a surprise at all if that turned into two, especially if Jose Mourinho arrives at Chelsea this summer.
Come the 2015 MLS season, Lampard will be 36 and perhaps ready for a change of scenery. A project like this would excite him and his global brand would undoubtedly excite those behind New York FC.
Current club: Barcelona
Contract ends: June 2016
Xavi signed a two-year extension with Barcelona in January (ESPNFC), but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll see it out at Camp Nou.
By the time the 2015 MLS season arrives, the midfield maestro may feel he's played his last pass at Europe's top table, that it's time to hand over the reins to the next generation at Barca.
This is pure speculation, of course, but how many bigger names are there in the world game at Xavi's stage in his career?
He'll be 35 in 2015—just the right age for one last dance and one last big challenge.
Current club: Manchester City
Contract ends: June 2014
Tevez has the City connection. He'll be 31 when the 2015 MLS season kicks off and perhaps ready to leave the Premier League behind and move closer to his family in Argentina.
A move from City to New York FC would be seen as the perfect marrying of the two brands. Tevez is an exciting player with global reach—exactly the type of figure to draw fans to the stadium, sell replica shirts and spike television audiences.
If they got him at 31, it would be seen as a notable coup.
Current club: Juventus
Contract ends: May 2014
What a combination we'd have here. The world's coolest city graced by one of its coolest footballers—the impossibly graceful midfield artist who goes by the name Pirlo.
It seems likely Pirlo will play at least one more season with Juve, perhaps two. After that, he may be looking for one last canvas upon which to paint his passing pictures.
It's not hard to imagine the Italian strolling through Central Park.
Current club: Atletico Mineiro
Contract ends: end of 2013
Want some star power in New York? Not many are bigger in profile than Ronaldinho, the mercurial Brazilian with a ridiculous array of tricks and a natural talent up there with the best of his generation.
Ronaldinho has been linked with a move to MLS before (MLSsoccer). The concern would be New York City FC getting a player long past his best days and thus wasting a designated spot that could be assigned elsewhere.
The potential win, however, would be if Ronaldinho conjured his vintage best and turned the attention of the world on a new franchise and a league looking to build a bigger audience.