By FRANCO PANIZO
Landon Donovan will receive his much-discussed farewell from the U.S. Men’s National Team later this month, but do not expect him and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to be buddy-buddy just because they will be around each other.
Donovan talked about his upcoming appearance in the U.S.’s Oct. 10 friendly against Ecuador in Hartford, Connecticut, in a wide-ranging interview with SI.com, and admitted he has not spoken to Klinsmann about the upcoming camp that will see the 32-year-old attacker play in his final international match before he retires at the end of the MLS season.
Donovan also responded to a question about whether he received an apology for Klinsmann’s son over a now infamous tweet mocking his controversial omission from the World Cup roster by saying he had not heard from the teenager. The U.S. head coach had said in a press conference shortly after the incident that his son, Jonathan, was a big fan of Donovan and needed to apologize.
Regardless, Donovan is looking forward to the upcoming match at Rentschler Field.
“I thought about it for a while,” Donovan told SI.com about his thought process when U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati presented him with the idea of playing one more U.S. match. “Obviously, this summer didn’t leave the best taste in my mouth with everything that happened. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was something that I think would be really special, not only for me to feel and receive, but also my opportunity to say thank you.”
Donovan also restated his desire to end his career with another MLS Cup title. Afterwards, he wants to spend his days by going to college, spend time with family, and just being able to do things that any other normal person could do.
Donovan did not completely rule out making a comeback if he were to get the itch to play again, but said it is unlikely.
“I’ll never say never,” said Donovan. “But I feel like once I’m gone that’s going to be it for me. I’ll still get my fill of soccer. I’ll play pickup games or play indoor or just hang out and go kick a ball around. Those moments where I get excited and think, ‘Oh, I can play again,’ I’ll be aware enough to say, ‘OK, let’s remember all the bad moments where you were thinking, ‘Gosh, I can’t wait to retire.’
“I’m aware of all that. I understand it. You never know, but at this time I would say it’s unlikely.”
Surprised Donovan and Klinsmann haven’t discussed the friendly? Think it matters that Klinsmann’s son apparently never apologized for his tweet? See Donovan coming back for a year or two at some point?
Share your thoughts below.