Landon Donovan has issued the Los Angeles Galaxy an ultimatum — compel English superstar David Beckham to clean up his act or risk alienating Donovan, the club’s all-time top active scorer.
“Let’s say he does stay here for three more years,” Donovan said in passages from a upcoming book on Sports Illustrated’s Web site. “I’m not going to spend the next three years of my life doing it this way. This is fucking miserable. I don’t want to have soccer be this way.”
US national team captain Donovan blasted Beckham in the book, The Beckham Experiment, questioning the former England captain’s work ethic, leadership and teammate skills on the Major League Soccer squad.
“Maybe he’s not a leader. Maybe he’s not a captain,” author Grant Wahl quotes Donovan as saying in the book, scheduled to be released later this month. “But at a minimum you should bust your ass every day. That hasn’t happened.”
“I’ve got to confront it somehow,” Donovan said. “If that is the way he is going to be, fine, then hold him accountable. Bench him. Just say: ‘We are not going to play you, we don’t think you are committed.’”
Donovan, who led the Americans to a surprise runner-up finish on the weekend at the 2009 Confederation Cup, is one of the most decorated players in Galaxy history.
Donovan believes that Beckham, as the highest-paid player in the league, has a responsibility to set an example through hard work.
“If someone is paying you more than anybody in the league, more than double anybody in the league, the least we expect is that you show up to every game, whether you are suspended or not,” he said. “Show up, train hard, show up and play hard. As time has gone on, that has not proven to be the case in many ways, on or of the field.”
Beckham is currently on loan from Los Angeles to AC Milan. The 34-year-old Beckham was originally supposed to return for the entire 2009 season but got his stay in Europe extended to halfway through the MLS season.
Beckham is scheduled to return to the Galaxy for a game in New York against the Red Bulls on July 16, two days after the release of the book.
“I can’t think of another guy where I would say he wasn’t a good teammate,” Donovan said. “He didn’t give everything through all of this. He didn’t still care. But with [Beckham] I would say no, he wasn’t committed.”
“My sense is David is clearly frustrated that he is unhappy and honestly, that he thinks it is a joke. I don’t see dedication or commitment to this team and that is troubling,” Donovan was quoted as saying.