Everton confirmed on Sunday that United States winger Landon Donovan will return to Los Angeles Galaxy after they were unable to extend his loan spell.
Toffees' boss David Moyes had hoped to keep Donovan at Goodison Park beyond his initial 10-week loan, but the player is now set to fly back to California to rejoin with his MLS club.
A statement on Everton's website announced that Donovan had made his last appearance in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Birmingham. "Landon Donovan has returned to LA Galaxy following his 10-week loan," the statement said.
"Despite attempts to extend Donovan's loan period at Everton, LA Galaxy have now recalled him to their squad ahead of the start of the MLS season on March 27. "It is still unclear if the American league will kick off on time as the threat of a players' strike looms following disagreements over the labour contract currently in place," it said.
Donovan, who was one of the team's best performers during his brief stay, paid tribute to Everton's fans for making his time in England a memorable experience.
"I'm 28 years old now and I've played over 100 times for my country, I've also played a lot of league games in different parts of the world," he said. "But I've never met a fan base like this, either playing for them or as an away player. Forget about football for a moment, this is a life experience I'll never forget."