US national team legend Landon Donovan has revealed that Chelsea icon Frank Lampard is the fellow professional who he most admires.
Having announced that he is set to retire from all forms of the game at the end of the 2014 MLS season, the LA Galaxy forward is preparing for his final US appearance in Friday’s farewell match against Ecuador in Hartford, Connecticut, and has been contemplating on his decorated career in the meantime.
Speaking to SI.com, the three-time World Cup veteran noted is immense respect for Lampard’s professional and attitude, and fully believes that the soon-to-be New York City FC midfielder is the ideal role model for the modern game.
‘This is going to sound weird, but probably Frank Lampard [is my most admired player],’ he said.
‘And I say that because I like the way he went about his life. You never heard stories about him, he was never in the tabloids, his effort was always good, he was a winner.
‘He did things right. He cared about the club he was at. I think he just did things the right way, and I always admired that.’
Aged 32, Donovan is set to captain the US for the first 30 minutes against Ecuador, before bringing down the curtain on a career which has produced a record 57 goals and 58 assists in 156 appearances since his first cap in October 2000.
The match will be his first for the stars and stripes since his controversial omission from Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup squad this summer, following a slow and unconvincing start to the 2014 MLS campaign.
He has been in fine form since, however, setting both the all-time goal and assist league records, while helping Bruce Arena’s to joint-top of the Supporters’ Shield standings with three games left before the post-season, as he bids to add a sixth and final MLS Cup to his collection to bow out with.