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With the 2012 MLS Cup Final looming, Landon Donovan has added another major subplot to the list heading into the league’s final match.
Donovan insists that the final could be his last game.
Following up on comments he made back in May about being burned out and needing a break from the game, Donovan stated recently that once the current MLS season ends he may not come back.
“I’m going to take as much time as I need and decide if and when I’m ready to come back,” Donovan told the Los Angeles Times. “I can’t put a time frame on that. If it takes two weeks and I’m ready to go again or two months or a year or two years.
“Or never. I don’t know.”
The U.S. national team star hasn’t been shy about expressing his disenchantment with the game, and he continues to stand firm behind the belief that retirement could very well be an option for the 30-year old.
If Donovan is serious, his departure from the game would have serious ramifications for both the Galaxy and the U.S. national team.
For the Galaxy, it would mean losing the team’s most influential player of the last seven years. A player with one more year remaining on his contract. With David Beckham already leaving, a Donovan departure would leave the Galaxy in serious rebuilding mode. There was always the possibility of a Donovan departure after 2012, but it had long been believed that if he were to leave the Galaxy at that time it would be to make one last run at Europe.
Now, a return to Europe seems like the last thing on Donovan’s mind.
For the national team, Donovan’s departure would be a setback, but not the devastating blow it might have been 2-3 years ago. The U.S. has basically been playing without Donovan for the better part of the past year, allowing new players to step in and emerge, and players like Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley to pick up the slack from the consistent impact standpoint. That said, no new player has emerged to offer the national team anything close to what the dynamic Donovan has been providing for the U.S. for the past dozen years.
It still sounds so improbable to think that Donovan would really walk away from the game, and an extended break seems the more likely scenario for a player who is clearly worn out emotionally. He has always been such a fierce competitor that it is tough to imagine him walking away from the game now for good.
What do you think of this developments? Starting to believe that Donovan just might retire this winter? Still think he just needs some time off? See him being a part of World Cup qualifying?
Share your thoughts below.