American midfielder Landon Donovan has been called the best U.S. player of his generation for most of his career, and he's one of the most eligible bachelors on the team that moves on to the Round of 16 Saturday in South Africa. But does his heart still belong to his ex-wife, actress Bianca Kajlich?
After scoring the game-winning goal against Algeria in the 91st minute to send the U.S. to the second round, Landon gave a tearful interview to ESPN's Jeremy Schaap. "I've been on a long journey in the last four years and I'm just shocked and I'm so proud of our guys," the Los Angeles Galaxy star said after briefly breaking down. His long journey refers not only to the American squad's poor showing at Germany 2006, but also to his brief marriage and sudden breakup last year. Are The World Cup Girlfriends To Blame?
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While the Americans were embarking on a Cinderella run to the final of the 2009 Confederations Cup—a run in which they beat No. 1–ranked Spain and faced world power Brazil in the final—Landon's three-year marriage to Bianca was falling apart. The two married in a New Year's Eve 2006 ceremony in Santa Barbara, but split in the spring of 2009. They announced the separation in July of last year.
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"People that know me closest know how hard I've worked for this moment," Landon said Wednesday after an emotional on-field celebration with his teammates. "This is unbelievable. We're not done yet. We're alive, baby!" Shortly before heading back to the locker room, where the U.S. team celebrated over beers with former president Bill Clinton, Landon gave a quick shoutout to his ex. "Hi, Bianca!" he said to ESPN's camera. He may have been thanking her for her contribution to his success—Landon said before the World Cup began that his marriage and divorce helped him mature and improved his game.
The U.S. team faces Ghana Saturday at 2:30 p.m. EST in Rustenburg, South Africa, the site of their rip-roaring June 12 draw against England. Look for the foxy Yankees to give a good fight to the team that knocked them out in '06 now that they've tasted victory. 7 Hottest World Cup Hotties