The national team’s record goal-scorer was crowned US Footballer of the Year for an unprecedented sixth time last year.
He either scored or set up 12 of the USA’s 19 goals in the final phase of World Cup qualifying and was instrumental in their run to the Confederations Cup final.
His 10-week loan spell at Everton from this January – in which he scored two goals in 13 appearances – enhanced his reputation but did little for his complexion; upon returning to LA Galaxy, tanned team-mate Chris Klein said Donovan “looks like he’s been hiding in a closet for a few months.”
Donovan had arrived on Merseyside on the back of a successful season with LA Galaxy, where he scored 15 goals in 29 league and play-off games and was named the MLS Most Valuable Player.
He captained Galaxy in the absence of Milan-bound David Beckham, who he claimed “wasn’t committed” to the team, a comment for which he later apologised.
His 2009 had not started well, with the collapse of his marriage and a third failed stint in Germany. Donovan made six substitute appearances during a three-month loan spell at Bayern Munich, who decided against making the transfer permanent.
He first went to Germany as a 17-year-old at Bayer Leverkusen but could not settle and returned to his home state of California on a long-term loan with San Jose Earthquakes.
A second spell with Leverkusen in 2005 lasted only seven league games before he joined LA Galaxy. He is currently sixth in the MLS all-time scoring list with 97 regular-season goals in 217 games.
Donovan became the fourth youngest player to reach 100 caps when he featured in a goalless friendly against Argentina on 8 June 2008.
Five months earlier he had scored his 35th international goal in a 2-0 win over Sweden to become his country’s all-time leading scorer – a feat all the more remarkable for the fact he usually starts on the left or right side of midfield with license to roam.
He started every one of the USA’s games at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.