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Love Him or Hate Him, Fans Know Landon Donovan

In spite of, or perhaps because, his many accomplishments in a still fairly young career, across the last few years it's become abundantly clear that while Landon Donovan is "the most celebrated active player in American soccer," the 27-year-old U.S. Soccer poster boy who led MLS in scoring last season "is also the most scorned," according to a New York Times article.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing, writes Paul Oberjuerge, who thinks the fact that Donovan has caused a "wide swath of sports fans in the United States to have formed an opinion on him" is a yet another "noteworthy" achievement for the superstar, while fellow soccer scribe Scott French agrees that such intense criticism "shows the growth of the game in this country."

Derisively dubbed "Landycakes" by detractors to project that he's "soft" on the field, Donovan is routinely denounced for everything from the silly (his pre-penalty kick ritual) to standard (his complaining to referees) to substantial (his lack of success in Europe and the perception that he's taking the easy way out living in L.A. and playing in MLS). And while these criticisms were "difficult at first," a thicker-skinned Donovan is now dismissive, saying "I've gotten pretty Zen about it."

Read the whole story at New York Times »

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