A decade ago the player on everyone’s lips was Freddy Adu, a young 14-year-old boy from America tipped to be the next Pele.
But 10 years later and the next footballing genius is playing his club football in Serbia as he struggles to live up to expectation.
When the new poster boy of the MLS came on the scene playing for DC United, glimpses of his potential were on show for all to see as he played 30 games in his debut season.
The Ghanaian American spent three seasons in the US capital, in that time he was twice named in the MLS all star team.
That’s as high as poor Adu’s career has reached. He was traded to Real Salt Lake where he struggled to make the same impact as he did in Washington.
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After just a season Benfica came calling as the European side looked to develop the young attacking midfielder into the world beater he was supposed to be.
Adu’s woes continued in Portugal as he struggled to adapt to the European game. After four loan spells, the Portuguese side felt it was time to part ways as he returned to the MLS.
Realising he wasn't going to be the next Pele, Adu just wanted to get back to playing football regularly. Philadelphia Union gave him that chance as he was reunited with his former DC United manager Piotr Nowak.
Much to his anguish Nowak was replaced and a restructure took place at Union. After the restructure the club had no place for Adu and a deal was done with Brazilian side Bahia.
After just seven months in Brazil he found himself without a club and not knowing where his once promising career had gone.
The young American failed to impress during trials for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar and championship side Blackpool.
From once being the target of Chelsea and Manchester United Adu is now plying his trade for Serbian side Jagodina.
Is he a victim of the MLS who painted him as their saviour? Did the fame and money get to his head? Or was he simply just not good enough? Whatever the reason it’s sad to see a player at just 24 being branded as washed up.
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