Major League Soccer plans to keep Landon Donovan.
MLS commissioner Don Garber said the league has no intention of accepting transfer offers for the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder.
“He’s become a real soccer hero,” Garber said Thursday after the news conference to announce French star Thierry Henry’s signing with the New York Red Bulls. “MLS needs soccer heroes, and we have a great American soccer hero playing for us in LA, holding the torch for the sport in our country, and that’s very important. I don’t believe that it’s something we can do without.”
Donovan was the best U.S. player at the World Cup, scoring three goals to become the American career leader with five. He agreed in December to a four-year contract with MLS that pays him a base salary this year of $2.05 million.
While Donovan struggled during previous stints with Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, he played strongly and attracted renewed attention in Europe when MLS loaned him to Everton for 10 weeks in January. Donovan scored two goals in 13 matches, helping the Toffees beat Chelsea and Manchester United, and draw against Arsenal.
Everton captain Phil Neville said last week during the club’s tour of Australia that “I’ve spoken to Landon and I know for a fact that he wants to come back here.”
HENRY RETIRES FROM FRENCH NATIONAL TEAM
Thierry Henry is retiring from the French national team.
The 32-year-old forward announced his decision before a news conference to discuss his signing with Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls.
A member of France’s 1998 world championship and 2000 European champion teams, Henry said he will not try to emulate England’s David Beckham and commute between the U.S. and Europe.
“I always want to be here 100 percent and fully committed to this cause and the organization,” Henry said.
ETHICS RULES TIGHTER
FIFA imposed tighter transparency rules on World Cup bidders when they seek meetings with voters who will choose the 2018 and 2022 hosts.
World soccer’s governing body said that the nine bid teams must explain in writing why they need access to the 24 Executive Committee members or voters’ national associations.
FIFA told bidders in a statement that they are forbidden from trying to influence voters by “offering benefits for specific behavior.”
The 24 executive voters noted that various bid teams approached them “either formally or informally” during the World Cup in South Africa. FIFA said it wanted to “better monitor these contacts and also preserve the independence of members in the bidding procedure.”
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