- Donovan, 41, and Klinsmann, 59, have since made peace nine years ago
- Klinsmann was appointed as South Korea’s head coach for the 2026 World Cup in February.
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Landon Donovan has openly expressed his anger at Jurgen Klinsmann after his criticism of the 2014 World Cup, warning the US coach at the time that he “picked guys who don’t care about American football.”
The former LA Galaxy forward, who holds the world record for most international assists (58) and is tied with Clint Dempsey for most international goals by an American player (57), had a turbulent coach with the German coach, who head of American soccer for five years, from 2011 to 2016.
His omission from the World Cup in Brazil nine years ago shows that, even though the two have since made peace, as reported by several media outlets.
Donovan, 41, opened up what was certainly one of the toughest chapters of his career this week on the CBS show Golazo, and what he told the now South Korean head coach after learning he had no plans to travel to South America for the biggest football prize in the world.
‘I told Jurgen that there are guys you take to the World Cup who will never play for the US again, will rarely go to the US again and don’t care what happens to them. American football after this tournament.’
Jurgen Klinsmann chose to leave the US’s top scorer (57) at home for the 2014 World Cup
Fans of the US National Team were shocked by the exclusion of T. Donovan as they played in the tournament in Brazil. Klinsmann later reflected on his decision, saying it was one of the most difficult he had to make in his managerial career.
‘To tell a player like him, with everything he’s done and what he stands for, to tell him he’s not part of those 23 right now… I just see other players having something ahead of him’ , the 59-year-old said. old, former Spurs favorite.
Some fans claim Klinsmann never got over Donovan’s failed loan spell at Bayern Munich in 2009 when he was manager of the Bavarians, and that this also happened when he was head coach of the USA.
Klinsmann and Landon Donovan after the latter was eliminated from a 2014 Gold Cup match
Some American fans say Klinsmann (R) never got over Donovan’s failed stint at Bayern Munich in ’09
Klinsmann has even criticized American players playing in Europe in the past.
“The problem is dealing with a generation that settles too early,” said the former West Germany striker. “When American players can sign a contract in Europe, they think, ‘I made it.’ But what have you done?
“You are there now and in our eyes in the US we are giving recognition. But you talk to people abroad and they say they are just average, nothing special. You want to go for a team that is in the top four-five of the Premier League, the Bundesliga. Don’t sit on the couch, play all the time. I guess we just have to keep them hungry.”
In February, Klinsmann was announced as head coach of South Korea, replacing Paulo Bento on a contract until the end of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.