Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
In April 2018, the soccer landscape will change in America as new franchise Los Angeles FC join the party.
Their ambition is huge and their celebrity appeal is already clear. Actor Will Ferrell is on the list of owners, along with L.A. Lakers legend Magic Johnson and 25 other influential faces from the world of sport, entertainment and business.
People I spoke to around L.A. believe the new club will look to make a statement, perhaps similar to the one Galaxy made with David Beckham 10 years ago.
“Beckham has absolutely had a lasting impact,” Scott French of FourFourTwo told me. “He made the rest of the world pay attention to MLS and made it possible for some of the great players who followed—from Robbie Keane and Didier Drogba to David Villa and Kaka—and the rise in standard that produced. He is unquestionably the face of this advance.”
Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas and Luka Modric are among the initial names being touted for L.A. FC, but Ronaldo would surely be the dream further along the line.
“We have to be aware that L.A. FC has a lot of money and also Hollywood connections through Mandalay entertainment,” Baxter told me. “They could probably offer him a $12 million contract and then bump it up with promises of personal work in their film studios. That could be something of interest to him.
“L.A. is the No. 2 media market out here and the new franchise will be going up against Galaxy, the most successful franchise. This is a star town and that’s how it runs, so they’ll need a big, big signing.”
Jerry Jimenez from the Heart of LAFC podcast said: “I believe they will be looking for big signings that you don’t have to explain. They will just make sense. I also believe the players will have a good story attached to them.”
L.A. FC hope to name a coach in the next couple of months, and that’s when we will get a better signal of their intentions. The likelihood is that Bayer Leverkusen forward Chicharito will be top of their list—but expect Ronaldo on the radar further down the road.