Beckham calls it: Donovan is a poor sportsman

Those who follow Soccerblog know that we have been very critical of David Beckham’s MLS move, expressing our doubts that it would work which so far have borne true.
But we also see why Landon Donovan proves now and again that he is a poor sportsman. Whether it is his comments about Giuseppe Rossi after the Italy game or this dust up with Beckham.
There is an unspoken rule followed in sports. If there is a problem with a current team mate, don’t go ratting to a third party especially a reporter about it. Donovan should have communicated his concerns to Beckham directly and if that was not possible at that time, then Bruce Arena should have been taken into confidence. Especially if one cares about a team as much as Donovan claims to with regards to the Galaxy. Yes, a lot of this criticism is very valid and Beckham should be held accountable but Donovan was out of line with who he decided on to air these comments. Calling him a fierce competitor puts too much shine on what I suspect was a desire to show up Beckham than any real effort at preserving team unity.
I fully support Beckham’s hitting back at Donovan calling him unprofessional. That is exactly what he is with these comments.
Lets also call it a day on Beckham’s MLS career. He wants to go back to Milan again in 2010 to earn an England call up for the World Cup.
“To be involved in the World Cup and to be involved with this England squad, I have to give myself the chance to be at that top level. I’ll do that personally and anything to do that. It’s just saying that for the moment, this is what I need to do. It doesn’t mean I’m running away from a project I believe in. I think the experiences I’ve had can only help this team.”
No self respecting league should be in forced into such a situation. I think the Galaxy fans should make their displeasure fully known.

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4 comments on “Beckham calls it: Donovan is a poor sportsman
  1. In every league in the world players go on loan so that they can get the kind of playing time, exposure, or experience necessary to give themselves a better chance to play on their national teams. Sometimes its within their own leagues and sometimes it means going to another.
    Just three current examples from MLS alone: Blanco went on loan to Santos Laguna, Mendozo to Chivas de Guadalajara and both are considering a permanent return to those clubs after this MLS season. Donovan has been speaking openly since last summer about his desire to return Europe, went on loan to Bayern Munich this off season in an attempt, and is talking about seeking a permanent option after this MLS season.
    Yet no one questions their ability to play with passion or commitment at their MLS clubs this season. And yes, all three will also be away on international duty for various periods throughout.
    I think Beckham was a poor match for the Galaxy, I think his tenure there was handled as poorly by management/owners/league as it could possibly have been handled, and I think there should have been a greater effort made to sell him to Milan when the opportunity existed. But whatever he is doing to put himself into contention to play in a World Cup is something most players would do if they were able.
    I am not one of those who thinks US soccer fans are less enthusiastic or knowledgeable than fans elsewhere, even though they are a smaller group. I do think they differ from other fans in their lack of understanding of exactly how much World Cup participation — from player and fan point of view — really means everywhere else in world. There is nothing else huge enough to compare it to.

  2. Pat
    I think in Beckham’s case this would be less of an issue if he and the Galaxy were successful. The money and the fanfare associated with his arrival has not translated into any success for the club. They have missed the playoffs three times in a row and replaced two coaches and the general manager. The Milan transfers is looked on as a players personal quest to be on the national team at the cost of any significant club contribution. That is in reversal of the club vs country debate going on nowadays where Wenger fights with the FA over Theo Walcott’s participation or Jose Mourinho calls the shots on when Michael Ballack can be declared healthy to play for Germany. The MLS needs to step in and be more forceful. In Blanco’s case he has been very productive for the Fire. The two stars joined the same year but there is no question who has proved more successful. So a loan transfer to Santos Laguna does not raise the ire of the fans as much. Plus, he has made it clear that he wants to go back unlike Beckham who seems to have an open ended commitment. Donovan would have gotten into the national team whether he played for the Galaxy or Bayern, it was more a question of his own personal improvement. So yes these loan transfers are not unusual nor should they be seen as evidence of questionable commitment but they need to be seen in context to the players present relationship with their primary clubs. In Beckham’s case he still has a lot to prove.

  3. Forget about the transfer – I get why Beckham wanted to play with Milan and why he wants to stay on his national team for the world cup.
    I was at the Galaxy’s home games last year and Beckham gave up long before the season was over. He played and acted like someone who had no interest being there. Beckham did not deserve to wear the captains armband and didn’t both to act like a captain, or even a good teammate – not bothering to return from England for an important match.
    Landon is right to call Beckham out and I bet he would have said what he said to the reporter to Beckham’s face, that is if Beckham bothered to show up (before the season was halfway over).

  4. Donovans comments weren’t about the transfer, it was about what Beckham did while he was still playing with the Galaxy.
    I was at the Galaxy’s home games last year and Beckham gave up long before the season was over. He played and acted like someone who had no interest being there. Beckham did not deserve to wear the captains armband and didn’t both to act like a captain, or even a good teammate – not bothering to return from England for an important match.
    Landon is right to call Beckham out and I bet he would have said what he said to the reporter to Beckham’s face, that is if Beckham bothered to show up (before the season was halfway over).

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