TODAY.AZ / Sports

London Donovan retires

08 August 2014 [12:25] - TODAY.AZ
Landon Donovan, arguably the greatest American soccer player of all time, has announced his retirement from the game.

The 32-year old LA Galaxy striker, who was also the US national team's all time top scorer, made the announcement after scoring the winning goal in the MLS All Stars match against Bayern Munich Wednesday.

"After careful deliberation and after many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last season as a professional soccer player," Donovan wrote in a statement published on the LA Galaxy's official website.

"I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career. And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game."

Donovan had become one of the most recognizable US soccer stars outside of his home country. In England he became something of a cult figure after two successful loan spells at Premier League side Everton.

But it was for a string of incredible performances for the US national team, and for his partnership with David Beckham whilst both men were at LA Galaxy, that he will be most fondly remembered.

He played at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals. Whilst every fan will have a favorite moment, be it winning the Gold Cup or scoring against Brazil in the Confederations Cup, It was his last-minute goal in the 2010 finals against Algeria that perhaps best defines his career. Not only did it take the US into the second round, more importantly, it improbably won them the group ahead of England.

Despite hopes he would shine for the US team in Brazil this summer, he was a shock omission from coach Jurgen Klinsmann's squad.

But, paying tribute to the MLS' all time top scorer, US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati hailed Donovan's contribution to the game's rise in the US

"When the story of the growth of US Soccer is told, Landon Donovan will be one of the central figures," he said. "Landon achieved unprecedented success as he emerged as the face of US Soccer, and helped bring the game to another level.

Donovan himself gave no hint as to his plans in retirement other than helping soccer to continue to put down roots in the US.

"As we enter a transformative time for the sport, I will do everything I can to help the continued growth of soccer in the United States," he said. "I look forward to making a difference, pursuing my passions and meeting all of you along the way in this next phase of my life."


/CNN/

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