Gio dos Santos seeing life in a different way in Los Angeles ahead of critical 2018 for Galaxy, Mexico

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Dos Santos says he is absolutely loving life in Los Angeles, where he's preparing for a crucial year for club and country

Los Angeles is all about glitz and glamour, right? That's what we're sold by the award shows and the panoramic shots before, during and after every sporting event there. It certainly is a prime destination for soccer talent. So what hotspot does LA Galaxy star Giovani dos Santos frequent at night?

According to him, his house.

"I’m going to be honest, I love to be at home," he told Goal. "I just trained, I came home and I like to be home with my family, be at home with my parents here and spend the day with them. I really like to watch movies, to read books. Really, I’m a very calm person in that respect."

His lifestyle is only the latest change for Dos Santos, who earlier in his career was criticized for enjoying the nightlife too much. Now, he's surrounded by people he cares about with his brother, Jonathan, on the same team as him and his parents able to visit much more often thanks to the proximity to Mexico.

Instead of hitting the clubs, Dos Santos says he's reading things like Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" to learn about how to live in the present and not dwell on the past or worry about the future. "I think I’m in a stage of my life where where I see life in a different way, I enjoy it in a different way and I like to relax with the people who I want to enjoy spending time with," he said.

Life is far from boring, though. Even after the 2017 LA Galaxy season ended with the team missing the playoffs after finishing in last place, Dos Santos said he's barely had time to rest, and it showed. Dos Santos was praised by Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio ahead of January's friendly match against Bosnia and Herzegovina for being in excellent physical shape. 

Giovani dos Santos Mexico

The fact it's a World Cup year "totally" was a factor, the Mexico international said. "I think we all, as professionals, knowing that it’s a World Cup year have this in our minds: to feel your best physically so when the moment arrives you can be at your top level. Personally, it’s a very important year at the club level as well because since I’ve been here I’ve wanted to win a title with this club and on the national team level, it could be my third World Cup, so I hope it’s a great year in all senses."

Fans will hope so as well. The Galaxy's last-place finish in 2017 was stunning. Dos Santos struggled to match his normal standard, scoring only six goals and adding just three assists in 25 matches. He'll have to do more in the new season with Galaxy fans accustomed to success frustrated after the down season. Not only that, but the Galaxy also have a new foe in expansion side LAFC. Dos Santos said LAFC's addition to the landscape, with Mexico teammate Carlos Vela leading the line, could help both teams generate more excitement. 

"Obviously being a Galaxy player, we know the responsibility we have this year. Historically, the Galaxy are the most important team in this league and we know that every year the expectations for this club are the highest," he said. "This year, really, it’s to get the title.

"We know we have competition in the city now, and I think it’s extraordinary for the club and the league that there will be such an important rivalry in this city with a new team. They have a person I care about a lot in my friend Carlos Vela, so for me these games will be doubly important, and I’m ready for the game to be here so I’m able to enjoy it."

Even though Dos Santos says he's become a homebody since joining the Galaxy midway through the 2015 season, he's taken to LA and appreciates how the Galaxy have provided an environment where he feels comfortable.

"I’m in love with the city. I love Los Angeles. I’m thankful for all the support people have given me," he said. "I’m also much closer to my country, Mexico, and my family can come visit me much more often. I’m in love with the club, with the people who work within the club. It’s a family now. I really feel happy here."

Dos Santos spoke to Goal in his role as the U.S. Ambassador for Pepsi's Soccer Generations campaign linking players like Dos Santos, Lionel Messi, Carli Lloyd and Toni Kroos with artists and photographers.

"For me, it’s a privilege. I’m excited to be part of a campaign for an iconic company on a global level like Pepsi is," he said. "There are going to be players I really like like Messi, Marcelo and Toni Kroos. I’m feel very happy and privileged to be part of this campaign."

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