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Landon Donovan will not sign with Real Salt Lake - sources

Landon Donovan has declined an offer to play for Real Salt Lake this season, multiple sources told ESPN FC confirming an earlier SI.com report.

Donovan, 34, came out of retirement toward the end of the 2016 campaign to play for the LA Galaxy following what turned out to be a season-ending injury to Gyasi Zardes.

He scored one goal in nine appearances. But just weeks after the end of the Galaxy's season, team president Chris Klein stated that Donovan wouldn't be returning to the team.

"With Landon, when he came back, it was always going to be a short-term thing," Klein told the L.A. Times back in December. "He's enjoying what he's doing and we see we're comfortable in the direction that we're headed."

But it soon emerged that Real Salt Lake wanted to sign the league's all-time leading scorer, and were willing to offer him what one source described as a Designated Player contract to do so.

Landon Donovan
Landon Donovan came out of retirement to play for LA Galaxy last season.

Since the beginning of January, league sources cast doubt as to Donovan's potential return. But as recently as last Friday, RSL GM Craig Waibel indicated that the talks were still alive.

"Landon's in a different phase of his career that fits who we are as a club," Waibel said last week. "It's a bit of evolution on the player end, as well as the club end. We've never gotten in a conversation claiming we're signing a 27-year-old Landon Donovan. All the conversations have been very realistic on his fit within our club and very realistic about the expectations involved, but as I've said, there's so many details that go into any contract that it's far from done."

A call to RSL seeking comment wasn't returned on Wednesday night.

Donovan is the all-time leader in goals and assists for both the MLS and the U.S. national team. In MLS, Donovan recorded 160 goals and provided 151 assists in 384 league and playoff appearances.

With the U.S., Donovan scored 57 times while adding 57 assists in 157 appearances.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.

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