From the home of Mourinho, Ronaldo and Xavier
Just like Brad Pitt’s life in the 2008 movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, Freddy Adu’s career seems to be moving backwards.
At the tender age of 14, the American forward was regarded as one of the most promising players the MLS and the football world have seen. His precocious talents didn’t go unnoticed and Nike rewarded him with a $1M endorsement deal.
Inter Milan and Manchester United were among a long list of suitors, but the interest never materialised. Perhaps it was still too soon for him.
Despite a lacklustre stint at Real Salt Lake City, Adu moved to Europe in July 2007 for $2m. His new club: Portuguese giants Benfica.
The early-years hype raised hopes of a phenomenal introduction to European football. But not only did Adu fail to make any impact, he also managed to raise a bigger question: is he even good enough to play at the highest level?
After a total of 129 minutes in the domestic league, his days at Estádio da Luz looked numbered and he was loaned to AS Monaco. However, hopes of a career revival foundered as he only made a handful of appearances at the French side.
This summer he requested a move to a smaller club from a second-tier league (Danish side Odense was rumoured to be interested in his services), but he has ended up staying in Portugal, on loan to Belenenses.
Freddy Adu may still be 20, but one has to question whether his career is already over. Finding the answer to why such a promising starlet wasn’t able to cut it isn’t easy. Was he a product of the media? Was he nurtured in the best way? Are youth squads in America and CONCACAF any good when compared to their European counterparts?
There have been rumours about his ‘real’ age, and even though it's odd that his height today is the same as it was six years ago, there’s no (f)actual evidence of age fraud.
However, the truth is that just as he has apparently stopped growing taller, so Adu has stopped developing as a football player; his decision-making hasn’t improved and his ability to bamboozle defenders has gone.
But even worse is the fact that nobody seems to be willing to give him a chance. That may apply to Belenenses, too: five games into the season, Adu still hasn't played for the the team.
Freddy Adu left the States in search for his “European dream”. He may well return empty-handed.
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If you'd done a little bit more research you could have mentioned that Freddy Adu was given a trial at Manchester United in 2006 and deemed not good enough
He's originally from Ghana... a country known for rampant documentation fraud, there is some smoke in the fire regarding his real age, it wouldn't surprise me one bit that his family tried to pull one on the MLS and were able to fool that league into thinking Adu was really 14... It could only happen in the MLS though as other teams like Inter or Man U. would have probably done some age verifications...
I think that is an overstatement. His trial at Man Utd may have ended earlier than what was supposed, but I doubt that at 16 he would be deemed "not good enough". Especially a youngster as coveted as Adu, unless there are special circumstances. And looking at other examples, Yaya Touré also failed to seal a move to Arsenal, having spent a period on trial in London. Wouldn't he play week in week out for Arséne now?
A couple of weeks ago, 15 players of the U-17 Nigerian team were dropped after failing age-tests. Some people within the game say the problem is quite serious in the African continent, but it is one that may be difficult to tackle. Because unless we're witnessing a blatant fraud, such move will be regarded as offensive.
Again, I am not saying that Adu cheated, but the case is similar to others in the past. Nevertheless, if FIFA is serious in introducing MRI bone scans, I think they should do it on a global scale and not just on the most affected regions.
"five games into the season, Adu still hasn't played for the the team."
Give me a break! He wasn't even traded to the team until the fourth game. And he did play today, in the third game he was with the team.
"Are youth squads in America and CONCACAF any good when compared to their European counterparts?"
I wonder how familiar you might be with soccer in America, you know there are only COMEBOL and CONCACAF!!!
I was referring to CONCACAF in terms of international games and to "America" in terms of youth teams in the United States league. Naturally, Adu didn't play against CONMEBOL teams on a regular basis (unless, there is a youth world cup or another international tournament). The point I was making was that maybe Adu didn't face strong oppositors back when he used to dribble defenders for fun.
Belenenses didn't get relegated, because another club's finances(Estrela da Amadora) were in dire condition. One would expect that Adu would quickly claim a place in the starting XI. Also, he is yet to play for Belenenses, though there are talks he may feature on Monday (the team's next match).
It seems Freddy told Pauly McGuinness that 'tracking back' and playing on the wing were not part of his game during his very short trial at Manchester United. Wasn't Peter Novak, the D.C. United coach, quoted as saying he might say he was seventeen, and train like he was 34, but he had the Mama's Boy mentality of a 12-year-old! Good job, Sergio!
I saw Adu score his (spectacularly unimpressive) debut goal at Giants Stadium against the then-Metrostars. The MLS was in its infancy then and needed an icon - ideally a young(!) icon - to draw in fans and, crucially, viewers for the televised games. They backed the wrong horse here and I'm as sceptical about his age as the other posters above. Plus, although he was speedy his standard of play and ball control were appalling for a teenager at any level and would've had a manager worth his salt kick him up the hole and send him to the reserves for a season or two.
As a DC United supporter, it's been easy for me to track Adu's professional career from the outset (OK, for the last three years, it's been easy for everyone, sort of like watching paint dry).
Freddy has sabotaged every opportunity he has been given. He is a nightmare for coaches and teammates, because he thinks the soccer universe revolves around what is best for him. Every development, large or small, he interprets according to how it affects him individually.
The hype surrounding his first professional contract only partially explains his refusal to adopt a genuinely professional attitude, or his stubborn insistence that anyone, anywhere cares what he thinks or how he feels. Some prodigies grow up fast, others not at all.
Finally, leaving MLS was a huge mistake. His game developed by leaps and bounds while he was in DC, in spite of his own best efforts -- if there were a Nobel Prize for football, Petr Nowak would have won it hands down. But all Freddy did was complain and run down his own team. He should suck it up, be a man, and return to the States, where he will actually help a cub and himself. Otherwise, yes, his career is over.
In my humble opinion Benfica is the one to blame, and it's no news that there's (or was) a lack of player judgement. i.e. Deco, Maniche, Christian Rodriguez, now imagine Addu in a club like Sporting Lisbon. I'm sure that if that was the case we would have heard from him alot more.
More than Addu's talent or lack of it, it's Benfica's lack of judging players potential.
Freddy Adu claimed he was 14 when he signed at DCU but he was 19, I have it on inside info, the fact he did not grow from 12 to 20 years old supports my statement but I can not disclose my source, sorry.
He played in MLS for about 3 years and was a average player.
Think about it, if he was a 22 years old of average skill in MLS why would he be a star in Europe?
"Think about it, if he was a 22 years old of average skill in MLS why would he be a star in Europe?"
He's like a reverse Darren Huckerby - a 33 year old of average skill in England who became a star in the US.
Adu is definitely older than he claims to be. He is at least 5 years older. If this is the case, this means that he was ineligible to play in the U-17 and U-20 World Cups in which he participated. At the end, it doesn't matter. He is a mediocre player.
My sons team played Freddies maryland team at the U-14 level for the Youth soccers regional championships in New York. We lost because the then 12 year old Freddie scored two goals against us. Bethesda went on to win the national championship. I remember sitting at a picnic bench with Freddie before the game and thinking there is no way this kid is 12. It was a sin back then to even question this matter. My sons entire team though he was around 17 back then also the people who didn't benifit from him winning games said the same thing. I guess it doesn't matter much now.
What is odd about being the same height after six years? Same thing happened to Leo Messi ( that's one of the reasons he stayed with no playing time in barcelona) , Maradona was always short and so too many other people .I was 5''11" at 15. Years later I am still 5' 11". I think that Adu's has been a case of missmanagement and missunderstanding.Specially in the USA where they could not think like him and managers think he still should be sucking his thumb . Also, it has never been a "supertar" in american soccer and he has a star mentality ; What's wrong with that?. He has not been given the chance in the MNT for the same reason that you mentioned ( not enough playing time) Well maybe not enough minutes with a club ,but that does not matter when it comes to represent the national team .All those rumors about his age is just that and garbage .He is a great talent and he still has the chance to shine like the star he is. They don't understand him and "not enough minutes is just an excuse" .I don't think USA is ready for him . And maybe the fact that people mention about him not taking a good decision is a show of his real age.
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