Why Landon Donovan Going to Mexico's Club América Makes Sense
Cocky. Arrogant. Despicable.
Just a few of the choice words that Mexican fans have thrown Landon Donovan's way in the past decade.
Ever since the American's first experience against Mexico—an October 25, 2000 match in which he scored a goal—Donovan has been a perennial thorn in El Tri's side.
Despite only scoring four of his 42 international goals against them, they've all seemingly come at the worst possible times.
Case in point, his goal in 2002 was on the biggest possible stage, a World Cup. Donovan's header put the Americans up 2-0 and essentially deflated Mexico from any comeback.
The loss eliminated Mexico from the World Cup.
With Donovan being too good for MLS and yet failing in his attempts to excel in Europe, the 27-year-old midfielder's last chance at international relevance could very well come from the same country that professes a blatant hatred for him.
The perfect fit?
A team described as cocky, arrogant and despicable, among other things.
Club América of Mexico is a perennially polarizing figure.
Either completely adored or completely reviled, the yellow-clad Mexico City squad is one of the country's most successful.
Since the professional league was founded in 1943, the América Eagles have won a total of 21 domestic titles including league and cup championships, as well as eight international conquests.
They are one half of the country's most heated rivalry along with Chivas de Guadalajara, and are a common fixture in the Mexican postseason.
América, owned by Mexican television giant Televisa, also has a liberal spending policy able to attract the likes of Dirceu, Claudio López, Oscar Ruggeri, Iván Zamorano, Ilie Dumitrescu, Djalminha and Hugo Sánchez over the course of their history.
Thus, Donovan would be able to make a large sum of money without venturing too far out from his home country.
With the loss of Cuauhtémoc Blanco to the MLS and now to Veracruz, América are in search of a fiery leader with oodles of talent to direct the midfield. Donovan fits the bill.
Despite being a midfielder by trade, Donovan has more than 100 goals in his career, and is multi-functional, being equally adept to playing on the wing or towards the middle.
With a top striker like Salvador Cabañas prowling opposing boxes, Donovan would be a perfect addition to a midfield that already boasts Argentine international Daniel Montenegro.
The move would also benefit the U.S. men's national team, too.
Donovan's stellar record against Mexico has been tarnished somewhat by his inability to beat them at Estadio Azteca, El Tri's home stadium and a place where they've lost only once in a World Cup qualifying competition.
The Los Angeles Galaxy star has yet to score there.
By continually exposing Donovan to the harsh conditions that Azteca serves up (altitude and air contamination leading to extreme fatigue), Landon would no longer be a stranger to atmospheric adversity when playing against Mexico in future matches.
Finally, a move like this would revitalize Donovan's career, which has become stagnant. Even by losing the MLS Cup against Real Salt Lake this season, Landon has conquered the American scene.
With three league championships, six Player of the Year awards and being named to the All-Time MLS Best XI, Donovan has thoroughly conquered the league.
While former American stars such as Tab Ramos, Eric Wynalda and Marcelo Balboa have tried their luck in Mexico, none have left a truly lasting mark.
The possibility of adding to Mexico's most powerful club's trophy case, while making millions of dollars and winning some of the sport's most difficult fans?
Well, it wouldn't make Landon Donovan any less cocky.
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