Wednesday, 16 February 2011
What happened to Freddy Adu?
In 2006 at the age of 14, there were early suggestions that Ghanian born American Freddy Adu was destined to become one of the greatest footballers of all time.
The American teenager made his debut for (Washington) DC United on 3rd April 2004 when he became the youngest American sportsman to partake in a professional game since 1887.
During the early stages of Adu's career many criticised the players performances, where pundits and journalists alike suggested that his introduction to Major League Soccer (MLS) had come to soon and that he would benefit from stepping out of the spotlight and develop the skills and maturity needed to deal with the pressures of the MLS.
In December 2006, having blown hot and cold with DC United, Adu moved to Real Salt Lake where he added to his growing reputation as a growing talent in MLS.
After captaining his country - The United States - in the under-20 World Cup in 2007 Adu made an impression on Portuguese side Benfica and in late July 2008, Adu signed a professional contract with the Portuguese side. The fee to take Adu to Benfica is rumoured to be in the region of two million Euros.
With the American 'wonderkid' arriving at Benfica, many football experts questioned the players true ability. Although a dominant force in Portugal, Benfica were by no means an elite footballing force when Adu arrived and suggestions that the Americans technical prowess had been over hyped soon became evident as Adu struggled to adjust to football in Portugal.
Having made just eleven appearances for Benfica, Adu was loaned to French club Monaco with an option to buy at the end of his loan spell. Adu failed to shine once more and Monaco chose to allow the American to return to his parent club after making only a handful of appearances for the French side.
Having returned to Benfica, the Portuguese club could not move him on quick enough with Adu spending further spells with Beleneses and Aris in Portugal and Greece respectively.
During his early career Adu was monitored closely by Manchester United among many other high profile clubs and spent a two week trial with the Lancashire club in 2006, but the American was unable to secure a work permit to play in England and returned to DC United.
Now aged 21, Freddy Adu has already played for seven different clubs where he has failed to deliver on his promise in Portugal, Greece, France and Turkey.
I remember reading articles when Adu first emerged in the United States. The young prodigy was heralded as one of the most gifted footballers the United States had ever seen.
A teenage Freddy Adu was quick, strong, intelligent in possession and was gifted with a sweet left foot that could weave spells on opposing defenders.
In the US, Adu excelled and created a significant volume of noise in regard to his ability. His at the time, was being monitored by some of the most powerful clubs in Europe, where the very best in business wanted to make the first approach to the United State's most recognised player.
Adu was only 14 years old, he had barely experienced top flight football in MLS and yet he was the most talked about soccer player in the league and his reputation was quickly spreading throughout Europe and the rest of the World were also listening in.
All that promise and now the former prodigy finds himself loaned out from parent club Benfica to any club that are willing to take him. Monaco have taken him, he lasted nine matches. Belenenses of Portugal took him on and he lasted three matches. He moved to Greece with Aris in 2010 and he managed only nine matches.
Now in 2011 Adu's latest project is with little known Turkish side Rizespor. Perhaps Turkey can provide him with the necessary platform to finally deliver the goods to match his ailing reputation.
At the young age of 21 is would be ridiculous to write off the Americans career, but perhaps the hype that surrounded him seven years ago when he first stepped out in the football cauldron, the pressure and the heat he was about to be exposed to was too much for the boy to handle.