David Beckham has confirmed that he has taken up the option to buy a new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami.

The former England and LA Galaxy winger appeared at a news conference in Miami to make the announcement.

Beckham said: "This is an exciting time for myself, my family, my friends and partners, and it is something we are really looking forward to bringing to Miami."

MLS commissioner Don Garber added: "This is the first time in the modern era that an ex-athlete has joined the ranks of owner. As a player and ambassador for MLS he's had an amazing impact on our league. He helped motivate champions like Thierry Henry come to the MLS."

Garber confirmed that Beckham will be exercising his option to own an MLS team and has chosen Miami.

Miami Dede-County mayor Carlos Gimenez said: "Today professional soccer is a reality in Miami. And who better to bring it to Miami than one of the world's greatest players?"

On the thorny question of how a stadium would be financed, Beckham says: "We don't want public funding. We want to fund the stadium ourselves."

"We can't build a stadium in two weeks. Once we have the right partners and investors we'll sit down with the city. The people of Miami deserve a stadium that they're proud of."

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder retired as a player last May and holds a $25m option in his MLS contract to start a franchise.