David Beckham and Landon Donovan: A Rift in the Galaxy's Story

2012 MLS Cup - Houston Dynamo v Los Angeles Galaxy
2012 MLS Cup - Houston Dynamo v Los Angeles Galaxy / Jeff Gross/GettyImages

The intricacies of camaraderie and conflict within the world of soccer often unfold behind closed doors. In David Beckham's documentary, a chapter of tension emerged between the English star and American icon Landon Donovan, shedding light on a rift that rocked the LA Galaxy.

Donovan's candid reproach toward Beckham for departing the Los Angeles club before his temporary stint with Milan highlighted the complexities of their relationship. The legendary American player didn't mince words, openly criticizing Beckham's commitment and even labeling him a poor captain for leaving the team to pursue opportunities in Italy.

Beckham's arrival in the United States back in July 2007, a controversial move from Real Madrid to a league then perceived as having a low profile, marked a pivotal moment. He was hailed as the figurehead and leader destined to guide the Galaxy to success, a responsibility Donovan questioned following Beckham's Milan move.

"If someone pays you more than anyone else, more than double anyone else, you at least expect them to show it in every game, to train and play hard. Maybe he's not a leader, maybe he's not a captain. At the very least, you should give it your all, and that hasn't happened, and I don't think that was too much to expect," voiced Donovan, encapsulating his sentiments, as captured in the Netflix documentary.

Despite Donovan acknowledging, within the same documentary, that "we were a really bad team," he maintained that this didn't grant Beckham the right to treat the Galaxy dismissively. "I was very frustrated because we're a team, and you don't just abandon that."

Donovan's public critique of Beckham marked the first instance of a teammate openly questioning the Englishman since his arrival in the United States. This situation prompted intervention from the LA Galaxy's management to prevent a fracture within the institution.

"Obviously, they were very upset with me," Beckham admitted. "And rightly so, I would feel exactly the same, so I understand, but I wasn't going to accept that from my own fans," the British footballer reflected on the backlash.

The revelation of discord between Beckham and Donovan in the documentary offers a glimpse into the complexities of player dynamics, individual ambitions, and the delicate balance between loyalty and personal aspirations in professional soccer.