The Los Angeles Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, Major League Soccer’s most valuable player, signed a four-year contract with a provision for an offseason loan overseas, the club announced Wednesday.
The loan period would last from Jan. 1 to March 15 and would ensure Donovan’s return for the Galaxy’s opening game March 27.
Financial terms were not disclosed for the contract, which runs through 2013.
“I’m fortunate,” Donovan said. “Most soccer players don’t get this opportunity to have the best of both worlds. I get that opportunity now, which is incredible.”
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In being named MLS’s most valuable player, Donovan scored 12 goals made the league’s Best 11 and led the Galaxy to the MLS Cup, where it lost to Real Salt Lake.
Spain ranked No. 1; U.S. 14th
Spain is ranked No. 1 in the year-end FIFA standings for the second straight year, and the United States is ranked 14th.
In rankings published Wednesday, the European champion maintained the lead it took last month from South American champion Brazil.
The Netherlands and world champion Italy stayed third and fourth, respectively, and the top 10 remained unchanged.
Cameroon leads the African nations at No. 11, and the U.S. tops the CONCACAF region. Australia heads the Asian confederation at No. 21.
Algeria, which will play in the World Cup next year, improved to No. 26 — its best spot since the rankings were launched in 1993.
The United States will play the Netherlands in a World Cup warm-up match on March 3 at Amsterdam. The U.S. is 0-3 all-time against the Dutch. The World Cup starts in June. … Twelve Eritrean national team players who defected during a tournament in Kenya last week said they cannot return home because they will be killed.