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Aug 1, 2014

NYCFC chief wants 'beautiful soccer'

New York City's new striker David Villa insists the prospect of playing at the new franchise enticed him ahead of other contract offers.

New York City FC chief executive Ferran Soriano believes he is building "a truly authentic New York team" and that the signings of Frank Lampard and David Villa will help football's popularity grow further in the U.S.

- Parker: Lampard's arrival anticlimactic

NYCFC will enter Major League Soccer in 2015, and former Barcelona CEO Soriano promised that they would play "beautiful" football.

The newly-formed club is an offshoot of Premier League champions Manchester City, but Soriano was keen to stress his determination to establish a very different identity on the other side of the Atlantic.

He told ESPN's Men in Blazers podcast: "We want to be New Yorkers. We are building a truly authentic New York team. This is not a Manchester City team or a brand play or a marketing trick -- this is real. This is a team that's going to play beautiful soccer in New York.

"It happens to be part of a City family where we will be able to help. We will be able to help in what matters, in bringing good players, coaching methodology, technology -- everything to help this New York team succeed."

Soriano said both he and Lampard had noticed how football had moved into the mainstream in the U.S.

He added: "I have been coming here for soccer for 10 years. You can see it changing every year. Every year is better than the previous one. I think it's unstoppable.

"No matter how you look at it, soccer is the No. 1 global sport and there is no reason for it not to be growing in the U.S. It's not a promise any more, it's a reality.

"Frank Lampard was telling me that only five years ago he could walk on street in New York and nobody would recognise him. Now he can't."

Lampard, Chelsea's record goal scorer, and Villa, a Champions League finalist with Atletico Madrid in May, both chose to sign for a club that has yet to play a competitive game.

Soriano believes the infrastructure NYCFC have, courtesy of Abu Dhabi-based owners and the English champions, helped persuade the designated players to join.

He also suggested City may loan up-and-coming players to New York, explaining: "One of reasons David Villa and Frank Lampard decided to come to New York is because they know who manages and who owns the club.

"We have some very bright star players, young players in Europe. We might ask them to come to New York to play before they play at Manchester City. There are all sorts of advantages. I think this will raise the bar for the whole league and others will follow."

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