Giovani Dos Santos 101: Everything you need to know about the LA Galaxy's new Designated Player

The big-name signings for the second-half of the MLS season just keep coming. After NYCFC announced they had signed Italian star Andrea Pirlo, one team on the opposite coast countered with its own blockbuster signing.

On Wednesday, the LA Galaxy officially landed Giovani Dos Santos, a 26-year-old star best known, currently, for his blockbuster achievements with the Mexican national team. Gio’s been pegged as a big international deal since he was pretty much a child, and he may bring some pretty sweet magic to MLS.

But if you're a total noob when it comes to Dos Santos' legacy so far, don't sweat it! We've got you. Here's the big stuff you need to know about him, in three main points.

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Giovani Dos Santos on the Mexican national team in the 2009 Gold Cup / USA Today Sports Images

 

HE'S BEEN SCORING TITLES FOR MEXICO FOR WELL OVER A DECADE.

Dos Santos hails from Monterrey and he’s been repping hard since he was a kid, taking Mexico to the top five in the Under-12 Danone Nations Cup in 2001. From there, he kept busy throughout his teens, helping his country win the Under-17 World Championship in 2005, and then get to the quarterfinals of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

An injury kept him on the bench from Mexico’s gold-medal triumph at the 2012 London Olympics, but hey, he still got called up, and collected hardware with the team.

Then there’s the senior Mexican national team for which he was first picked in 2007, at the ripe old age of 18.

For El Tri, he’s helped them win the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he was named player of the tournament, and then another Gold Cup title in 2011. That’s where he terrorized the US in the final, scoring a killer goal against 'keeper Tim Howard that was named best goal in the tournament:

Oh yeah, then there were his two turns in the FIFA World Cup by the age of 25 -- in 2010 and 2014. Here he is, scoring against the Netherlands in 2014:

Not too shabby a list of accomplishents for someone in their mid-20s. (Still living at home with your parents? Um, don't despair.)

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Dos Santos training with Barcelona in 2008 / Wikimedia Commons

 

HE'S ALSO PLAYED FOR SOME OF THE BIGGEST EUROPEAN CLUBS.

Let’s start with Barcelona, whose academy he attended as a kid, and whose senior squad he first joined at age 17. (Seventeen!)

Just a year after that, he was making his UEFA Champions League debut, and then one year after that, in 2008, he was scoring his first club hat trick – all with Barca.

Later, he headed to Tottenham Hotspur in England, where he scored his first competitive goal in the 2009 UEFA Cup.

Most recently, he’s been playing for Spanish teams – first Mallorca, then Villarreal. His playing time has fluctuated, but he’s still racked up 18 goals and 18 assists over the last three seasons.

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HE'S PART OF A SPORTS FAMILY, AND THEY'RE FUN TO FOLLOW OFF THE FIELD, TOO.

So that’s all pure sports stuff, but Gio’s fun to follow off the field. You’ve gotta love that he comes from a mini sports dynasty – his dad’s the Brazilian footballer Zizinho, a star for teams like Club America in the 1980s. He’s also got an older brother, Eder, who also played for Club America.

And then, of course, there’s Gio’s younger brother, Jonathan. They’re kind of a cute package deal, and, there are entire Tumblr sites dedicated to tracking their every move.

 

 

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