Galaxy's Arena planning on Donovan being back for 2013
No word yet on the the status of the LA Galaxy's longest-serving superstar, but Bruce Arena is forging ahead as if nothing's going to change with regard to Landon Donovan.
Donovan has been out of view since he declared he was burnt out and needed time away to replenish, with no promise that he would return, but the Galaxy's head coach and general manager believes his captain will be back next season.
“I've never said he wasn't [coming back],” Arena told MLSsoccer.com. “He's on our team. On the contrary, I would think he's coming back unless I hear otherwise. I'm going to plan on Landon being back until I hear otherwise.”
Donovan hinted several times during the second half of last season that he was weary and in need of a break and that retirement was a possibility, then confirmed it following LA's 3-1 victory over Houston in the MLS Cup final a month ago.
“It's just been a long two years. For all of us,” he said in the postgame news conference. “It's not a woe-is-me story, but I have to listen to my heart and my gut, and right now my gut says to get away for awhile.”
Arena said after that game that he “probably would be” surprised if Donovan retired, that the star forward/midfielder “still has so much to offer the game as a player.”
David Beckham also said that he hoped Donovan would return.
“Landon’s a great player. He’s a special talent in this team and a special talent in this country. And he’s still young,” said Beckham, who played his last game for the Galaxy in the final. “So I personally hope that he doesn’t stop playing, because I believe that he’s still got a good few years left in him.”
Arena was asked earlier this month if he'd talked with Donovan about his plans.
“No, I haven't,” he said. “I don't think there's any rush on that right now. I'll talk to him at some point. There’s a point everyone needs to get away a little bit, so we're not rushing into any of that stuff.”