Aug 28, 2013, 6:30 PM EST
The man is 31, almost retired less than a year ago, and for a fleeting moment lost his place on the U.S. National Team.
And yet, he still more than deserves the money he got today from the L.A. Galaxy – he deserves it.
Now, if you look at it strictly in terms of what he brings to the pitch for L.A. and translate that to money, of course he’s being overpaid.
BUT – let’s recap (with a little help from our Steve Davis) what Donovan has given both Major League Soccer and the United States, and it will become overwhelmingly clear why this is a no-brainer for the Galaxy. Most of this is obvious, but it adds up:
- With three more years, he will very likely become the MLS’s all-time leading scorer and assists leader. Obviously records are meant to be broken, and barring a catastrophe within the league those numbers will eventually be eclipsed by someone. However, will anyone ever hold both again?
- All the smart money would certainly go down on this being the last contract Donovan will sign in his playing career. Outside of his brief time at Bayer Leverkusen in the beginning of his career, every contract he’s ever signed has been in Major League Soccer. For the United States to say it basically has kept a hold of one of the country’s most important and iconic figures in the sport is a fantastic accomplishment. Landon dabbled in European soccer a few times, but found he was always at home in MLS.
- Donovan has over 150 caps for the USMNT, and is 2nd all-time in that category. He also has the most goals in USMNT history, by a good amount, as well as the most assists. And those numbers are sure to continue climbing.
- He’s led the San Jose Earthquakes to two MLS Cups, and the Galaxy to three – including the last two years.
- He’s won the MLS MVP once, won the All-Star game MVP once, won the Golden Boot once, has the most goals in MLS playoff history, and has the most combined regular season and playoff goals in MLS history.
- He still has some left in the tank.
If you’ll allow me to go off-sport for a moment, the situation reminds me a lot of the Derek Jeter contract negotiation with the New York Yankees in 2009. At age 36, Jeter and the Yankees had a bit of a tense public contract battle (akin to some of the rumors of Donovan leaving, though nowhere near as hostile or high-profile). However, it was always going to end the same way – with Jeter essentially handed a blank check as a token of appreciation for his legendary service to the club and league. Jeter ended up with 3 years and $51 million.
In Donovan’s case, it ended the same way. While we don’t know the length of Landon’s contract just yet – he joked it was “200 million dollars per year for 20 years” a his press conference – my educated guess is that it’s around the same, 3 years.
At around $4.5 million per year (above $5 million with bonuses), Donovan will be in the range of being the second-highest paid player in MLS – he’s behind Clint Dempsey by about half a million base salary, and right around Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry.
They’re biased, but Galaxy brass think he’s pretty good too.
“Landon has been a major factor in the growth and sustainability of Major League Soccer and we’re thrilled that he will continue to wear a Galaxy shirt for years to come. Keeping Landon was a major focus for our club and reinforces our desire to acquire and retain the best players from the United States and abroad.” -Galaxy President Chris Klein
“He is the best player in the history of the game in our country.” -Galaxy coach Bruce Arena
Despite rumors and “multiple offers” from overseas, Donovan was always going to stay. Why should he leave? It never would have been right. Instead, he and the league got it absolutely right. Will he reach the final year of his contract at a high level of play? Who knows, but it doesn’t matter.
Landon Donovan has given Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer some of the best play this country has ever seen. And now, he may very well be here for the rest of his career. Just like it should be.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:54 PM EST
It’s a rare halftime lead for Aston Villa as they look to shock Southampton.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:00 PM EST
Schalke is three points back of Chelsea despite drawing 1-1 in the Stamford Bridge portion of group play.
Nov 24, 2014, 2:23 PM EST
The league announced Monday that Akindele edged Steve Birnbaum of DC United and Harry Shipp of the Chicago Fire for the honor.
Nov 24, 2014, 2:05 PM EST
The second-placed Saints need a win to keep pace with a Chelsea team threatening to run away with the Premier League.
Nov 24, 2014, 1:17 PM EST
Packwood is a promising defender who can be a big part of the US U-23 picture and onward.
Nov 24, 2014, 12:36 PM EST
Seven of his eight appearances have been substitutions, all in the 76th minute or later.
Nov 24, 2014, 11:35 AM EST
No one told Wright-Phillips another yellow card would keep him out of an MLS Cup Playoff game. Pretty unsettling if you’re a Red Bulls fan.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:45 AM EST
Arteta felt they were dominating the game before an own goal from Kieran Gibbs changed the temperature and, at the risk of losing something in the language, doesn’t think highly of the Red Devils.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:46 AM EST
It wasn’t quite a number that rivaled top American matches, but women’s soccer in England can take an extra bow.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:09 AM EST
A trio of American attackers scored goals and a bevy of defenders and netminders worked good shifts in the own end.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:20 AM EST
Certainly keepers like David De Gea, Tim Howard, Wojciech Szczesny, Hugo Lloris and Salvatore Sirigu are scratching their heads.
Nov 24, 2014, 7:30 AM EST
Two teams on very different form meet on NBCSN to finish off the weekend’s Premier League action.
La Liga and Serie A roundup: Valencia, Napoli falter in Champions League bids; Milan derby a stalemate
Nov 23, 2014, 10:20 PM EST
Catch up on all of Sunday’s action and movement in La Liga and Serie A.
Nov 23, 2014, 8:15 PM EST
The Revs and Galaxy may both hold one-goal advantages, but they’re very different leads built in very different ways.
Nov 23, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
The Crystal Palace manager hailed his side’s “Neil Warnock performance” as they pull themselves out of the relegation zone.
Nov 23, 2014, 7:14 PM EST
The Galaxy find themselves just 90 minutes from the third MLS Cup final in four years after a narrow victory over the Sounders.
Halftime, MLS Cup Playoffs: LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders in 0-0 Western Conference Championship stalemate
Nov 23, 2014, 6:05 PM EST
Zeroes on the scoresheet, but plenty of action in the first half. Sounders very patient, but Galaxy getting close.
Nov 23, 2014, 5:32 PM EST
He’s only ever done it twice in his MLS career, but with the season — and maybe his career — on the line, Thierry Henry will play on artificial turf next week.
Nov 23, 2014, 4:50 PM EST
The Spurs manager wouldn’t be drawn into talk about the winner from Christian Eriksen or the red card to Gaston Ramirez, instead discussing how he was just delighted to get three points any way he can.
Lineups, MLS Cup Playoffs: LA Galaxy host Seattle Sounders in Western Conference Championship, leg 1
Nov 23, 2014, 4:25 PM EST
Lineups are in for the Galaxy and Sounders’ Western Conference Championship first leg matchup. Two massive omissions leave Seattle shorthanded.
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- Recap: LA Galaxy grab 1-0 lead over Seattle Sounders in Western Conference Championship 1