Landon Donovan was told new hair transplant wouldn't show up on TV. Part of it was missing

Landon Donovan, left, wears a baseball cap with his arms folded while sitting next to his San Diego Loyal assistant coaches
His hair — or lack thereof — hidden by a cap, Landon Donovan sits next to his San Diego Loyal assistant coaches Nate Miller and Carrie Taylor on March 4, 2020, in Chula Vista. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

Landon Donovan and Mike Magee were Galaxy teammates from 200 to 2013 and again briefly in 2016, winning three MLS Cups together during that span.

Apparently the two men have remained close since then — close enough that Magee felt comfortable asking Donovan a question that was on the minds of seemingly everyone who saw him during Fox Sports' Euro 2024 coverage Monday afternoon:

What the heck is up with your hair?

Donovan, 42, is considered one of the top U.S. men's soccer players of all-time. He and Brazilian star Neymar are tied atop the list for the most all-time assists in international play (58), while he and Clint Dempsey are tied for most international goals by an American (57). He also won four CONCACAF Gold Cups with the U.S. and five MLS titles with the Galaxy.

Now an analyst for Fox Sports, Donovan provided color commentary for Monday's Euro 2024 match between France and Austria alongside play-by-play announcer Ian Darke. Before the game, the broadcasters appeared on camera for a preview that may have been very enlightening — although apparently nobody seemed to be paying attention because they were all distracted by Donovan's most unusual hairstyle, which appeared to feature a large, possibly rectangular portion cut out above his left ear.

Folks on social media were bewildered by the legendary player's new look. Many people were amused and made a number of jokes, while some expressed concern for his well-being.

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Magee, who now owns the Sneaky Fox vodka company, decided to get to the bottom of the matter. He reached out to his former teammate via text and later shared a screenshot of their conversation on an X post he captioned with, "Sorry @landondonovan."

"LD check twitter asap," Magee texted Donovan, "and prob fire your barber."

Donovan responded with several facepalm emojis and joked, "Where were you 7 hours ago???"

He then provided an explanation for his appearance.

"Had a hair transplant procedure two weeks ago and was told it wouldn't show up on camera," Donovan wrote.

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Magee responded, "Who told you that Rafa Marquez?!," referring to the Mexican soccer legend and Donovan's former on-field rival.

Donovan sent back three laughing emojis and one that's NSFW.

When Magee asked if he could post their text thread, Donovan responded, "Whatever, I deserve it."

Donovan proved to be even more of a good sport Tuesday morning, when he replied to Magee's tweet with a photo of himself from years ago, when he sported a glorious curly mullet on the top of his head.

"Thanks for putting me on blast Mo," Donovan said in reference to Magee. "Just trying to get back to my glory days."

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Donovan isn't the first sports broadcaster to publicly discuss having undergone a procedure in an attempt to bolster a receding hairline. Then-Fox and current ESPN announcer Joe Buck described himself as "a hair-plug addict" in his 2016 memoir.

Donovan and Darke are slated to call the Spain-Italy match on Thursday. Perhaps Donovan will further address the hairy matter at that time — or maybe he will just wear a hat.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.