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Donovan: 'I aim to play in Europe'

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Donovan: 'I aim to play in Europe'

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:15 pm

By any standards, Landon Donovan boasts an impressive career record. The only pro in the world game to have won his home country's Player of the Year award five times, the 26-year-old has amassed 105 international caps, rates as the all-time leading scorer and provider for the US national team, and was Major League Soccer's top marksman last term.

Despite all that, the seasoned Donovan had been "a little bit nervous" before his first workout with the Bayern squad, he confessed on Thursday after training at the Säbener Strasse for the third time. Even for the man described by Jürgen Klinsmann as "THE really exceptional player in North America, Mexico included," training with Germany's biggest club is a little bit out of the ordinary.

"It's a great opportunity for me to see how the game's played here," said Donovan, who has noted a slew of differences compared to US soccer even after just a few days in Germany, in terms of history, professionalism, and especially in the depth of talent. "Every player here, from number 1 to number 22, is a better player. American teams only have one or two really good players."

For these reasons, Donovan reckons his future lies away from the USA, where he has achieved practically everything there is to achieve. He is searching for a new challenge. "I'd really like to play in Europe," he stated. "Landon knows Europe is where the action is in football, and he has all the attributes you need to succeed in Europe," commented Klinsmann, who became acquainted with the 26-year-old in a spell together at MLS outfit Los Angeles Galaxy.

Landon will now seek to demonstrate those same qualities in ten days as an invited guest at Bayern. "I want to see how I get on," he said, knowing his first foray into the Bundesliga ended in failure. He joined the Bayer Leverkusen youth section as a hugely-talented 16-year-old back in 1999, but never made the breakthrough into the pro ranks. "I was still young and not mature enough for Leverkusen. I wasn't ready," he recalls, "but I'm a different person and a different player now."

"He's an outstanding footballer with bags of quality - and he's only 26. I think he'd definitely make his mark in the Bundesliga," said Miroslav Klose after training with the USA star. Uli Hoeneß, an eagle-eyed spectator at a practice match featuring the American on Tuesday, was also impressed: "The lad can play, no doubt about it."

The Fénix manager was asked whether the versatile attacker, equally at home up front or in midfield, could be an option for Bayern. "He'll train here for ten days and then we'll see," Hoeneß answered. Donovan insisted he had come to Bayern with no preconceptions or expectations. Whatever, he is on the verge of a major step in his career, so it is good that his initial nerves have evaporated and he feels increasingly comfortable at FCB: "I'm really enjoying my time here."
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