By DAN KARELL
Arguably the greatest player in the history of Major League Soccer isn’t leaving the league any time soon.
The Los Angeles Galaxy announced on Wednesday afternoon that midfielder Landon Donovan has signed a new multi-year contract with the club, meaning that all three of the Galaxy’s designated players are locked-in to long-term deals. As per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Donovan’s most recent deal was set to expire at the end of this season.
“I’m very fortunate to be able to play for fantastic fans, for a wonderful organization, in front of my family, and this is the place I want to end my career,” Donovan said at a press conference this afternoon. “I’ve always wanted to be here and I’ve always wanted to play here. When other opportunities arose, they paled in comparison to being here.”
The 31-year-old U.S. Men’s National Team veteran is currently in his 13th season in MLS, the last nine of which have been with the Galaxy. During his time in the league, Donovan has won five MLS Cups (three with the Galaxy, two with the San Jose Earthquakes), two Supporters Shield titles, one U.S. Open Cup, and one MVP award.
Earlier this month, Donovan had made news by admitting that he and his representatives had received offers from abroad and that he was considering them. However, a Sports Illustrated report on Tuesday broke the news that Donovan had decided to remain with his hometown club.
“We have what we think is the full package and we’re really thrilled that Landon will complete a contract here and hopefully win more championships with the Galaxy,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said.
Donovan infamously took a sabbatical after the conclusion of last season, not returning to the Galaxy until the end of March, already a month into the season. However, the time away from the game did wonders for Donovan, who said he found his passion for the game again while he was gone.
On August 15, the Galaxy signed defender Omar Gonzalez to a designated player contract, making him the first American defender to ever earn that distinction. Last January, the club also signed Robbie Keane, their other designated player, to a multi-year contract. The signing of Donovan represents a moment where for the first time in MLS history, a team has three designated players signed for multiple years at the same time.
“We believe that with our three designated players we have the best core in MLS,” Dan Beckerman, CEO of AEG said at the press conference. “With Landon, we have the greatest American soccer player to ever play the game and the best American player in MLS today. With Robbie Keane we have what we think is the best international player (in the league), and with Omar (Gonzalez) we feel we have the best defender in the league.
“If we could have any three DPs in the league, these are the three that we would want, and they give us the opportunity to compete and win the cup every year.”
What do you think of this news? Happy to see Donovan remain at the club? Did you expect him to resign? Impressed with the Galaxy’s front office?
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