Former U.S. Men’s National Team member Landon Donovan has recently gotten criticism for his support of Mexico for this summer’s World Cup.
The 35-year-old Donovan recently stated in an appearance with Sports Illustrated that his support came from a genuine appreciation of the country. The former MLS player also stated that his support preceded his sponsorship agreement with Wells Fargo.
“A couple months ago, Wells Fargo reached out and said, ‘We’d like to do another commercial with you,'” Donovan said, referring to the “Hat Trick Rick” commercial he had previously done with Wells Fargo.
“I said, ‘Well I grew up with Mexicans, I literally learned how to play soccer from Mexicans, and I owe a lot of my career from Mexico,’ and I said, ‘Believe it or not I’m actually rooting for them,’ which took a lot of people in the Wells Fargo sponsorship and marketing team by surprise.”
Despite the absence of the USMNT from the tournament in Russia, Wells Fargo wanted to get fans behind their CONCACAF rivals given the heavy Mexican influence in the United States. Donovan doesn’t regret supporting Mexico for the tournament but also feels it could’ve been handled differently, rather than just in a promotional campaign.
“But I said ‘I do, I want them to do well, I just lived there for four months, and I know how much this means to them, and I realize it’s probably a little bit controversial, but I do want them to do well,” he said.
“I think had I done that, it would have been a little easier to manage.”
Donovan is currently without a club after him and Club Leon of Liga MX parted ways on June 17th.