Not only has be been stellar in recent World Cup qualifying. Not only was he one of, if not the best, players at the Confederations Cup. But he recently bitch-slapped David Beckham for being selfish, opportunistic creep that he is. Awesome.
Granted, there's a bit of self-interest at stake for Donovan, whose comments about Becks are set to appear in a book written by Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl. But there's no gray area as to where Donovan stands regarding Beckham, who is due back with the L.A. Galaxy this month (who woulda thunk it?).
Donovan, the de-facto captain of the Galaxy (never mind Beckham wears the armband), says Beckham is a lousy teammate. He asserts that Beckham didn't want to play for L.A., especially after coach Ruud Gullit was let go. Beckham proved as much by bolting to Milan and A.C. Milan last January under the guise of maintaining his spot on the England lineup in hopes of playing in next summer's World Cup in South Africa. Now that he's coming back soon, he's gotta deal with Donovan's criticisms. Donovan is quoted in excerpts from Wahl's book:
“When David first came, I believed he was committed to what he was doing. He cared. He wanted to do well. He wanted the team and the league to do well. [Once Gullit was fired] he just flipped a switch and said, ‘Uh-huh, I’m not doing it anymore’. I can’t think of another guy where I’d say he wasn’t a good teammate, he didn’t give everything through all this, he didn’t still care. But with (Beckham), I’d say no, he wasn’t committed.”
The Galaxy were whores to Team Beckham. Spineless Alexi Lalas talked Donovan into giving up the armband to Beckham; nice treatment of a guy who is recognized as the face of American soccer. They shoved Beckham out as the public face of MLS, and what did they get in return? A half-assed performance that couldn't get L.A. into the playoffs (don't eight of MLS' 15 teams get in?). Hell, the Galaxy players couldn't even get Becks to buy a team meal.
Either way, Donovan doesn't want to see Beckham in the Starting Eleven when he comes back this month. Not at least until he proves his commitment to the team and to furthering the Galaxy. He's a teammate, not a commodity or marketing vehicle. Oh wait, he is a commodity and a marketing vehicle.
As for Donovan, he's giving notice that the Galaxy are his team, but if Beckham is going to be out front again, he's not going to be there for long.
"Let's say he does stay here three more years. I'm not going to spend the next three years of my life doing it this way ... I don't want to have soccer be this way. I've got to confront it somehow. If that's the way he's going to be, fine, then hold him accountable. Bench him. Just say, 'We're not going to play you, we don't think you're committed'."