The man who has been described as “the best American player in the history of soccer” didn’t make the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup roster — and he said it left him rooting against the Stars and Stripes.
In an interview with the LA Times, American soccer superstar Landon Donovan confessed that he felt a little vindictive after he was cut from the team, and when the U.S. played a warm-up match against Azerbaijan, he found himself rooting for the other side.
“I’ll be completely honest, watching them play Azerbaijan, inside, part of me was thinking, I hope the game doesn’t go very well today,” Donovan told the LA Times on Friday. “In my heart of hearts, I thought, if we get a 1-0 win and the team doesn’t perform well, that would feel good.”
The game went a little better for the U.S. than Donovan had hoped — a 2-0 American victory — and he said he quickly felt remorseful.
“Then the next day I woke up and said to myself, that’s a really crappy way to feel,” Donovan said. “That’s a bad way to live your life, it doesn’t help me, it doesn’t help the team, it doesn’t help the energy that the team needs.”
The soccer world expressed shock when the final 23-man U.S. World Cup squad was announced sans Donovan, but since the decision Donovan has found other avenues to participate in the tournament, working as a game analyst for ESPN and even displaying a bit of self-deprecating humor in an EA Sports ad.
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