On a pleasant sunny morning in Carson, newly acquired Designated Player Giovani dos Santos trained in public for the first time before later addressing the media inside a jam-packed Stadium Club.
While those in attendance were given just a brief window to watch Dos Santos in action alongside his Galaxy teammates, you could already notice how frequently Dos Santos moves off the ball, and the clever manner in which he does so.
Though Giovani was active during training, he still isn't 100% fit. (Bruce Arena stressed patience with Dos Santos during the press conference, noting that the El Tri regular is coming back from an adductor injury and needs time to get back to full form)
On the way to the locker room, Dos Santos was greeted by a crowd of passionate fans, a trend that began on Sunday when Gio was welcomed at LAX by an adoring mob.
Not to be outdone, the heavy Spanish media contingent gave Dos Santos a hearty round of applause as he made his way to the podium, flanked by LA Galaxy President Chris Klein and Head Coach & General Manager Bruce Arena.
First up was Congressman Xavier Becerra, a longtime politician representing the downtown LA area for over 20 years. After a brief statement, Becerra thanked Giovani for committing to the Galaxy and the city of LA, then turned his head and playfully told Bruce "No excuses".
Bruce looked thrilled. (He later joked with reporters that Phil Anshutez bothers him more than a Congressman)
Chris Klein and Bruce Arena said some words, and then it was Giovani's turn to speak. When asked about wearing the No. 10 jersey and following in the footsteps of club legend Landon Donovan, Dos Santos was careful with his words.
"Well, I think everyone knows Landon is a great player who I have a lot of respect (for), but I am Giovani Dos Santos" said the El Tri international with a humbling confidence, "And I came here to work hard, to win titles and (make) my own history here in the club. Hopefully I can win a lot of titles and do a big history here."
Giovani then answered a few more basic questions before switching to Spanish media.
You get the feeling the team is tired of talking in general, particularly about Dos Santos' off-the-field behavior. Which is understandable, after all the concern about Gio is considered by many to be an outdated talking point, and the team just endured a similar media blitz with Steven Gerrard's arrival. When pressed, Arena categorically dismissed any concerns about the former Barcelona attacker.
Keane was also quick to deny any controversy concerning Gio wearing the No. 10 shirt.
"Whose fault is that? It’s not Gio’s fault. Talk to someone else, that’s not Gio’s fault. Gio is a No. 10. I guarantee you one second Gio does not care, I'm telling you that right now. He does not care what people say, and the reason why is he’s got nothing to do with it. It’s got nothing to do with him. It’s up to other people if they want to retire a number. Are they going to retire No. 7 when I finish? I wouldn’t want them to."- Robbie Keane
Luckily, the team doesn't have to wait much longer to get going. Dos Santos will have his first opportunity this Thursday when the Galaxy play Central FC in CONCACAF Champions League group play (7 pm, Fox Sports 2) before battling the Sounders Sunday on national television. (1 pm, ESPN)