- Donovan, 41, and Klinsmann, 59, have made peace since that bit, nine years ago
- Klinsmann was hired as South Korea’s head coach for the 2026 World Cup in Feb.
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Landon Donovan has opened up on his fury at Jurgen Klinsmann after his snub at the 2014 World Cup, and warned the USA coach, at the time, that he ‘picked guys who don’t give a f*** about U.S. soccer.’
The former L.A. Galaxy striker, who holds the world record for the most international assists (58) and is tied with Clint Dempsey for the most international goals scored by an American player (57), had a turbulent coach with the German coach, who was the head of U.S. soccer for five years, from 2011 to 2016.
His omission from the World Cup in Brazil, nine years ago, shows that, even though the pair have made peace since then, as reported by several outlets.
Donovan, 41, opened up on what was surely one of the most difficult chapters of his career on CBS’ show Golazo, this week, and what he told the now-South Korea head coach after he learned that he wasn’t going to travel to South America for the world’s biggest soccer prize.
‘I said to Jurgen there are guys who you’re going to take to the World Cup, who’ll never play for the U.S. again, will rarely step in the United States again and don’t give a f*** what happens to U.S. soccer after this tournament.’
¿I said to Jürgen there are guys who you’re going to take to the World Cup, who’ll never play for the U.S. again, will rarely step in the United States again and don¿t give a f*ck what happens to U.S. Soccer after this tournament.¿ pic.twitter.com/GNmoa6pWNL
— CBS Sports Golazo ¿¿ (@CBSSportsGolazo) November 6, 2023
Jurgen Klinsmann chose to leave the U.S.’ top goal scorer (57) at home for the 2014 World Cup
U.S. men’s national team fans were rocked by Donovan’s exclusion, going into the tournament in Brazil. Klinsmann later reflected on his decision by saying it was one of the most difficult ones he had to take in his managerial career.
‘To tell a player like him, with everything he has done and what he represents, to tell him that he’s not part of that 23 right now… I just see other players slightly ahead of him,’ said the 59-year-old, former Spurs favorite.
Some fans claim that Klinsmann never got over Donovan’s failed loan stint at Bayern Munich in 2009, while he was managing the Bavarians, and that it carried over when he was the head coach of the U.S.
Klinsmann and Landon Donovan after the latter was subbed’ off during a 2014 Gold Cup game
Some U.S. fans say Klinsmann (R) never got over Donovan’s failed stint at Bayern Munich in ’09
Klinsmann even criticized American players playing in Europe, in the past.
‘The problem is dealing with a generation who settles to early,’ said the former West Germany striker. ‘If [U.S. players] can sign a contract in Europe, they think ”I made it.” But what have you done?
‘You’re over there now and in our eyes in the U.S., we give recognition. But you talk to people overseas and they say they are just average, nothing special. You want to go for a team that’s top four-five in the Premier League, Bundesliga. Don’t be on the bench, play all the time. I think we just gotta keep them hungry.’
In February, Klinsmann was announced as the head coach of South Korea, replacing Paulo Bento on a contract until the conclusion of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.