Dec 17, 2013, 3:21 PM EDT
Not Lionel Messi. Not Cristiano Ronaldo. Not Zlatan Ibrahimovic or even, for that matter, Alex Morgan. When it comes to Google’s most searched soccer players in the United States last year, an old but perhaps surprising name tops the list: Landon Donovan.
Okay, perhaps it’s not that surprising, but in a country where European soccer’s popularity still eclipses that of our domestic league, it’s interesting to see Donovan outranking stars with a bigger global profiles. But when you look back at the Galaxy star’s 2013, things start to make sense.
At the beginning of the year, it was unclear when Donovan would return to soccer, the soon-to-be 31-year-old going on walkabout through East Asia as he took some time away from the game. When he came back to Los Angeles, questions about his future shifted to worries about his international career, with fans asking when Donovan would get back into the U.S. Men’s National Team. Near season’s end, Donovan’s future in Major League Soccer was in doubt, though he eventually signed a new deal with the Galaxy.
Combine the stories, and you have the formula that vaults Donovan to the top of this list. Everyday, there was a question people wanted answered about the U.S.’s all-time leading scorer. And what do we do when we need answers? We “google” them.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise Donovan tops Google’s list, just as it’s not shocking to see Clint Dempsey second. This is a U.S.-based list, after all. There’s nothing U.S. soccer fans care about more than their national team stars, even if we sometimes need lists like these to remind us.
No Messi. No Ronaldo. Suck it, superstars.
Here are the Top 10 most searched teams, with six spots taken by Major League Soccer franchises:
1. Manchester United
2. Chelsea F.C.
3. Liverpool F.C.
4. Portland Timbers
5. Philadelphia Union
6. Real Salt Lake
7. FC Dallas
8. Arsenal F.C.
9. Columbus Crew
10. Houston Dynamo
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