Reports reveal that Freddy Adu will be leaving his latest club in Finland after failing to revive his career yet again and will return to the MLS.
The American rose to fame as a 14-year-old, when he became the youngest player in the history of Major League Soccer to sign a professional contract. All eyes were on him, and Europe’s biggest clubs monitored him closely.
However, it hasn’t worked out for Adu, who’s potential and future at the time was limitless. Since signing for MLS side DC United back in 2004, Freddy Adu has played in no fewer than 12 different clubs and has failed to make a significant impact in any of them.
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His latest spell was with Finnish side KuPS, where he made just five appearances and was briefly loaned out to SC KUFO-98 resulting in two goals in three games.
Where did it go wrong?
What and who is to blame for his downfall can be debated widely, and there may be personal factors such as bad advice, which only Adu himself is familiar with. However, one thing may be established as a certainty - The “tale” of Freddy Adu serves as a cautionary story of a “wunderkind”, who never even got the opportunity to fly high before crashing badly.
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There have been many examples of superb talents, who made it to the top and then squandered their chance; either by injuries or controversies off the pitch.
In modern football, Manchester United’s Anderson, AC Milan’s Alexander Pato and Barcelona’s Richardo Quaresma are examples of prospects, who had shown immense ability and convincing displays in their previous clubs in order to get the chance at the highest level, only for them to be forgotten.
Freddy Adu signed a huge deal with Nike and earned significantly more than his teammates during his time in the MLS. What separates Adu from aforementioned examples is the fact that he never got the chance to play in one of Europe’s elite clubs.
He signed for Benfica in 2007, which is a big club in Portugal but not on level with the finest clubs in Europe. Adu spent four years in Portugal, and that was when his downfall began.
He struggled with injuries and limited game time and was loaned out to AS Monaco, Belenenses in Portugal, Aris in Greece and Türkish side Çaykur Rizespor before briefly returning to MLS with Philadelphia Union. Adu then endured brief spells with Bahia in Brazil and Serbian club Jagodina.
What does the future hold?
The 26-year old will return to the MLS after quitting Finland. It seems highly unlikely that he will give Europe one last try after all those years, and it might be time for Adu to settle down at a club, where he will play regularly and retire, when the time comes.
Even though, he is “only” 26, it would be no surprise if he chose to hang up his boots in the very near future, as he seems like a player, who has lost his passion for the game and the belief in his own ability.
If Freddy Adu had signed for a top club in Europe and become a regular, USA would have benefited greatly from having a world-class player acting as a role model to promote the sport in the country.
Just how far his talent could have brought him remains an intriguing thought to this day.