Landon Donovan’s personal relationship with manager Jurgen Klinsmann, not his perceived inability to still play soccer at the international level, may have been the driving reason he was cut from the 23-man squad going to the World Cup. The two men have had a relationship going back to 2009 when Donovan was brought over on loan to German powerhouse Bayern Munich. Klinsmann was the manager of the team, and it was at his instance that the team acquire Donovan.
It didn’t work out. Donovan played in six games and never really did anything. He was allowed to go back to the Los Angeles Galaxy after the loan period, and Bayern Munich fired Klinsmann shortly after.
Some say Klinsmann was fired because he put so much faith in Donovan, insisting to his Munich bosses that of all the players in the world available at the transfer window, Donovan was the player he wanted most. In retrospect, it made him look stupid.
And then there’s the who sabbatical thing. After the 2012 MLS season and his Galaxy winning its second consecutive championship, Donovan announced he was taking a break, and he then traveled around Asia like a weirdo. There are photos of him playing a pickup game with teenage boys, shirtless, in Cambodia. What kind of single man in his early thirties travels to Cambodia alone? I’m not suggesting that Donovan is some sort of sex pervert, a boy-lover, but you’ve got to admit: the whole thing sounds like a bad premise for an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Donovan ended up missing the first two months of the MLS season and missed time with the national team, including some World Cup qualifying matches.
I wonder what was said about Donovan in the Klinsmann home. Shortly after the announcement that Donovan was being cut from the national team, Klinsmann’s 17-year-old son, Jonathan Klinsmann, took to Twitter and tweeted, “HHAHAHAHAHAHAH DONAVAN HAHAHAHAA I DIDNT EVEN NOTICE UNTIL PHONE NOTIFIED ME HAHA”
He didn’t even bother to spell Donovan’s name right, which is really strange considering that the elder Klinsmann, when apologizing for his son Twitter tweet, claimed that his son is a fan of Donovan and even has his jersey hanging in his room. If he had Donovan’s jersey hanging in his room, why didn’t he know how to spell his name? It’s printed in big, bold letters right on the jersey.
The tweet was removed and Jonathan’s Twitter account was deleted.
If Klinsmann has a personal problem with Donovan, I guess it could be understood. In the end, I don’t think it matters if Donovan is going to the World Cup or not. Not really. The United States doesn’t have a chance of getting out of the first round. They play Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. Luke Skywalker had a better chance of destroying the Death Star without using The Force than the United States has in getting out of Group G, the so-called “Group of Death.”