Landon Donovan talks about USMNT comeback


Landon Donovan spoke on the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday about his miraculous comeback for the LA Galaxy earlier this month.

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Donovan, 34, retired from soccer in December 2014 but after almost two years out he decided to come out of retirement to play through the end of the 2016 season for LA as Bruce Arena’s men struggled with an injury crisis.

The all-time leading goalscorer for the U.S. national team told Patrick that “it just felt right, I don’t really have an explanation other than that” about his comeback while also stating that he wanted to help out his former team the Galaxy and also play in front of his eight month old son Talon. Donovan also said he would not have returned to play for LA and in MLS again if he didn’t have a son.

Donovan was then asked an inevitable question: if U.S. Soccer called him and asked him to return and help the team, would he return?

“If I felt I could actually help and contribute then yeah, of course. That is a million miles away. I’ve played a total of 20 minutes in two years.”

He was then asked by Patrick if he would accept any offer from Jurgen Klinsmann — he left Donovan off the USMNT’s 2014 World Cup roster in a huge shock and since then Donovan has openly criticized the German coach — to be on the U.S. national team coaching staff.

“Umm… again, if I felt I was able to contribute I’d consider it,” Donovan said. “What did you want me to say? Why not?”

In a lengthy, revealing interview a laid-back Donovan discussed his current physical status and despite coming off the bench and scoring a late equalizer for LA at Sporting Kansas City last week, he admits he’s nowhere near fit enough to play in Major League Soccer.

“No I’m not in shape,” Donovan said. “It makes you realize that to be in real elite athlete shape, you forget how difficult that is and how much work goes into it. I went in to a game last week and played for five minutes and I was absolutely exhausted. This was at the end of the game when everyone had been playing in 85 degrees heat. It is going to take a while but I’m enjoying it.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 07: Landon Donovan #10 of the Los Angeles Galaxy plays the ball past Andrew Farrell #2 of the New England Revolution in the first half during the 2014 MLS Cup match at StubHub Center on December 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The Galaxy defeated the Revolution 2-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

That fitness issue is probably because Donovan was completely done with soccer since retiring in 2014.

He got married, had a kid and had moved on with his life. Until now.

“Sitting home the past two years I have had zero desire to go and run around a soccer field. I don’t play soccer any more at home. I play tennis, I go work out, I run. I don’t play soccer any more. That’s not what excites me any more,” Donovan revealed. “But this opportunity seemed like it was two things. One was a chance to help the team. Two, I know my son is only eight months old and he’s not going to remember anything but I do want to have memories with him on the field with me and have something to show him one day. One day at 13 he probably says ‘dad, I don’t care about that crap. Why did you do that? That was dumb.’ But what if he doesn’t?”

Asked if being left out off the U.S. roster for the 2014 World Cup was a key factor in him retiring a few months later, Donovan said his mind was already made up way before that happened.

He did however suggest just how fresh he’s feeling right now, and comments like this will keep plenty of people intrigued to see if he continues to play beyond the 2016 MLS season.

“What happened in the last two years, I’ve come back and started training and my body now feels young and excited to be around it. Maybe just having a break was important,” Donovan said. “I was very fortunate to not have many major injuries while I was playing but along with that means you don’t get a lot of breaks. It just wore me out… I feel rejuvenated and fresh and I don’t know, maybe I will suck when I go out there and play but it will be enjoyable and hopefully I can help.”

Could Donovan help the U.S national team in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers? Even for the master of the comeback, that may be one step too far.

Transfer rumor roundup: Mari to Arsenal; Defoe makes permanent Rangers move

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s biggest transfer rumors, including those involving Premier League outfits.

[ MORE: Premier League January transfer needs ]

Arsenal are reportedly hours from adding a defender to Mikel Arteta‘s squad.

Flamengo’s Pablo Mari has reportedly arrived in London and set for a medical at Arsenal, Sky Sports reports. The 26-year-old Spaniard will join the North London side for the remainder of the season with an option to buy.

It won’t be Mari’s first time signing for a Premier League side, however.

In 2016, the center-back signed with Manchester City, but never featured for the defending champions, instead making appearances for Girona, NAC and Deportivo La Coruna on loan.

Jermaine Defoe is not returning to Bournemouth.

On Saturday, Rangers announced that Defoe signed a pre-contract to join Rangers on permanent basis in the summer.

The storied 37-year-old English striker has 20 goals in 57 appearances since joining the Scottish giants last January on a 18-month loan. Defoe’s new contract runs through the 2020-21 season, a one-year deal.

“It’s fantastic news,” Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told the club’s website. “It’s something we have been working on over the weeks and it is great to finally get that done and dusted.”

“He is an incredible professional with the way he goes about his work on and off the pitch – he is a credit to himself and his family. And also on the pitch, which is the main thing. He is still contributing heavily – he is a major part of this group, this team and this squad and hopefully together we can go and share some success as I think he deserves that.”

This season, Defoe has scored 16 goals in 28 games.

Crystal Palace are in talks to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco, according to Sky Sports.

Carrasco, 26, wants to leave Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang and is currently training in Belgium, ahead of a return to European play.

Carrasco has scored 24 goals in 52 appearances since making a move to China from Atletico Madrid in February 2018.

Norwich City are actively pursuing Danel Sinani, according to the Daily Mail.

The 22-year-old Luxembourg winger is out of contract with Luxembourg side FC Dudelange this summer. If the parties involved can’t reach a deal this week,  the Canaries are reportedly ready to propose a pre-contract agreement.

Mourinho hints Spurs to sign Lo Celso permanently: ‘I think the boy is earning the decision’

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Tottenham Hotspur loanee Giovani Lo Celso is closer to permanently stay in North London than he is to return back to Sevilla.

[ MORE: Spurs, Saints draw and force 4-th round FA Cup replay ]

The 23-year-old Argentine, who arrived at Spurs from Real Betis last summer on a season-long loan, experienced a rocky start in the Premier League. Lo Celso – with only 44 minutes of English top-flight playing time under his belt – suffered a hip injury with Argentina, ruling him out two months in the fall.

Since, the attacking midfielder has worked his way up Jose Mourinho’s pecking order, featuring heavily in the Portuguese’s scheme over the past few months. Most recently, on Saturday, Lo Celso displayed his well-balanced virtues in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Following the match, Mourinho addressed questions on whether or not his club is going to sign the midfielder on a permanent contract. Praiseworthy of Lo Celso’s learning abilities, Mourinho hopes the midfielder will be a part of the club’s long-term plans.

“It’s not an obligation, it’s an option,” Mourinho said of Lo Celso, who is reportedly available at reduced price of $35 million. “I think the boy is earning the decision. He’s making an easy decision for the club to execute the option.”

“Incredible evolution since I arrived,” he added. “Barely played a game, I think he played against Red Star Belgrade, with me a little bit difficult to come in the first few weeks. But he understood what we wanted. Good learner, good kid and I think by himself he made the decision that the club is going to execute the option. That’s normal, he earned it.”

With Christian Eriksen on the verge of departing the London side, Mourinho and company will have additional funds to land Lo Celso this winter before his price spikes in the summer.

Everything points to the creative midfielder having a future in London, but will Spurs brass follow suit and make it official soon?

Netherlands forward Rob Rensenbrink dies at age 72

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Rob Rensenbrink, the forward who was centimeters away from delivering the Netherlands a World Cup title in 1978, has died at age 72, the Dutch football association said Saturday.

“We have heard with sadness of the death of football legend Rob Rensenbrink,” the association said in a tweet.

Rensenbrink played most of his club football in Belgium with Club Brugge and Anderlecht, where his weaving runs earned him the nickname “Snake Man.” He also played briefly for the Portland Timbers in the United States in 1980.

He was a regular for the Netherlands national team in its period of dominance in the 1970s.

He played 46 times and scored 14 goals for the Dutch team known for its slick, position-swapping “total football.”

But he will always be best remembered for the goal he didn’t quite score in the 1978 World Cup final.

With the scores tied at 1-1 between the Netherlands and host Argentina and the seconds ticking away in injury time of the final in Buenos Aires, Rensenbrink’s shot hit the post. The match went to extra time and Argentina scored twice to win 3-1.

It was the second straight World Cup final defeat for the Netherlands, which has appeared in three finals and lost them all.

Rensenbrink was diagnosed with a muscle disease in 2012 and died as a result of the illness, according to Dutch national broadcaster NOS.

Anderlecht said he died Friday night.

“Thanks for everything Robbie!” the Belgian club wrote on its website. “We will never forget you.”

Serie A roundup: Ilicic powers Atalanta in historic win over Torino (video)

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Atalanta’s historic and overpowering win over Torino highlights Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Torino 0-7 Atalanta

Josip Ilicic scored a hat-trick, including a center-line strike, as Atalanta humiliated Torino 7-0 on Saturday, handing the hosts their worst home loss ever in Serie A play.

With only nine men on the field towards the end of the match for Turin-based side, Atalanta were able to capitalize, elevating their goal count to 57 goals in 21 games this season. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men, who are back in Champions League contention, lead the league in goals.

Robin Gosens and Duvan Zapata, who scored a minute before the break, added to Ilicic’s first of three. A three-goal advantage after the first 45 minutes foreshadowed what Torino was going to encounter in the second half: more goals.

Eight minutes into the final 45 minutes of Saturday’s bout at the Olimpico di Torino, Ilicic quick-fired two more past an exposed Salvatore Sirigu.

With less than 10 minutes to go, Luis Muriel took the field for the visitors. And just six minutes after his first foot on the natural surface, the Colombian striker had a brace to his name.

“All we can do is apologize,” Torino coach Walter Mazzarri said. “In so many years of my career I had never had such a game.”

In fourth place with 38 points, Atalanta look to increase their seven-goal performances this season to three as they host struggling Genoa in a weeks time. Torino, on the other hand, meet AC Milan on Tuesday in the quarterfinal’s of the Coppa Italia.


SPAL 1-3 Bologna

Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa