The response in Mexico to the information Landon Donovan could be becoming a member of Liga MX’s Membership Leon on a 12 months’s deal was initially considered one of bemusement.
The story had initially surfaced as a rumor on Wednesday however with no actual momentum. There have been denials from journalists and warnings that it was a hoax. And when Membership Leon used the “stars and stripes” metaphor to announce a brand new striped house jersey, every part pointed to La Fiera enjoying off the rumor to garner consideration and generate press.
The advertising and marketing gimmick appeared to work. Leon captured headlines in a means that the establishment — not considered one of Liga MX’s largest — is not accustomed to. However simply because the story was dropping its pressure got here the just about surreal twist late on Friday: Donovan, 35, was really signing for the membership.
He stated: “I cherished town. (Leon) has the very best followers. Membership Leon is a historic and profitable workforce. I do not imagine in partitions, I need to go to Mexico, put on inexperienced and win trophies with Leon. See you very quickly!”
The signing naturally conjured robust opinions. Donovan is maybe the final U.S. worldwide to actually stoke true emotions of contempt amongst Mexico followers, an animosity constructed up over time primarily because of the California native’s success in opposition to El Tri, particularly on the 2002 World Cup. However beneath it’s a degree of respect. Donovan speaks Spanish and was the star of a industrial that went viral again in 2010, with “Captain America” dressing up and making an attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border to get into Mexico with a purpose to play a lottery.
¡Bienvenido Mr.@landondonovan!#SerFieraEsUnOrgullo 🦁 pic.twitter.com/GPuBo16T00
— Membership León (@clubleonfc) January 13, 2018
Watching Donovan in his newest comeback in Mexico will definitely be entertaining and can seize consideration each side of the border. It can additionally present a way of completion, with Donovan near transferring to Membership America in 2009 and all the time proper on the prime of the record of gamers that would add a lot to Liga MX. But there are additionally respectable issues about whether or not Donovan, who will put on the No. 20 jersey, will be capable of stand up to hurry after which have an effect.
“If the thought is that folks discuss Leon, they’ve achieved it,” stated former Leon vice chairman and present ESPN analyst, Francisco Gabriel de Anda. “Within the soccer sense, Landon Donovan will carry nothing to Leon.”
Donovan initially retired in 2014, however got here again to assist LA Galaxy throughout an damage disaster halfway by way of the 2016 MLS season, enjoying 9 video games general. Which means Donovan has performed simply 456 aggressive first division minutes over the previous three years. Getting again to full health will likely be a chore, by no means thoughts reaching a degree of play to impression a league with higher general high quality than MLS.
Former U.S. worldwide and now ESPN analyst Herculez Gomez, nevertheless, is backing Donovan to succeed.
He stated: “Landon Donovan will flip 36 in a number of months, however whereas he’s good bodily he’ll do nicely. On-field intelligence he has in spades.”
The American joins a workforce that gained its opening 2018 Clausura match 2-1 final weekend in opposition to Atlas and is anticipated to be within the playoff race beneath coach Gustavo Diaz. The entrance three of Elias Hernandez, Mauro Boselli and Andres Andrade is pretty established, with Luis Montes slotting in behind: a place Donovan may occupy. Montes, an vital participant for Leon over current years, may even drop again alongside Alexander Mejia in central midfield.
That is the newest twist in Donovan’s exceptional profession. However even with the challenges he is overcome and achievements earned up to now, popping out of retirement for the second time and making an impression in Liga MX 2018 on the age of 35 must be proper up close to the highest of his accomplishments.
That stated, if Donovan’s profession teaches you something, it’s that you just should not wager in opposition to “Captain America” succeeding in opposition to the chances.