Landon Donovan has a feeling that it’s better to bow out in Brazil than in Russia.
Donovan says he expects the 2014 FIFA World Cup to be his fourth and final appearance on the world stage. The 31-year-old American soccer star says he’ll probably be too old to represent his country at the 2018 World Cup, according to ESPN.
“It’s hard for me to imagine, sitting here, that I’ll be able to walk in four years, much less play soccer,” Donovan said Monday. “So I would guess that this is my last chance of making a World Cup.”
Donovan burst onto the global soccer scene at the 2002 World Cup. Then just 20 years old, he scored two goals in five games, helping the U.S. advance to the quarterfinal — its best finish since 1930.
Donovan and his teammates suffered the indignity of group-stage elimination at the 2006 World Cup before returning to the knockout rounds in 2010 thanks to Donovan’s last-second goal against Algeria. The goal remains one of the iconic moments in both U.S. soccer history and Donovan’s impressive career.
Although the U.S. landed in the dreaded group of death for the 2014 World Cup, Donovan says this experienced and competitive U.S. men’s national team has a good chance of advancing out of the group, which includes Ghana, Portugal and Germany.
Donovan is the top goal scorer and setup man in U.S. men’s national team history. With his legacy already secure, Bruce Arena, his coach at the club level (with the L.A. Galaxy), has said Donovan likely will retire from international duty after this summer’s World Cup.
But Donovan says he’s undecided on his international future, as he first plans to compete against the world’s best while soaking up the atmosphere of host nation Brazil.
“We’ll see, but if it is [my last World Cup], I want to make sure that it’s very enjoyable and I take advantage of it.”