The hype surrounding Freddy Adu has been proven to be misplaced, but how has the once-wonderkid failed?
In 2004, Freddy Adu became the youngest player to ever sign with the Major Soccer League, as he was drafted first overall in the SuperDraft. He was coined as “the next Pele”, he appeared on the David Letterman Show aged just 14, and was expected to drive the popularity of the MLS with his skill. Major Italian sides such as Juventus, Inter Milan and Lazio coveted the youngster, but he continued to play with DC United, featuring in their first team immediately.
Last night, Adu was released by Brazilian side Bahia due to “technical deficiencies”, as director of football Anderson Barros said; “He does not play because there are others who are superior. He is very dedicated. I have nothing bad to say about him off the field. I have talked with him, and Adu understands the situation. He is very professional.”
Bahia were Adu's ninth club already, despite the Ghanian-born forward still being just 24. Having moved to Europe in 2007 with Portuguese giants Benfica, Adu struggled to establish himself and subsequently ended up on loan at AS Monaco, Belenenses, Aris Thessaloniki and Caykur Rizespor, before finally returning to the MLS with Philadelphia Union.
There are now major question marks surrounding Adu's future in football, after yet another failed move. Failed stints in Portugal, France, Greece, Turkey and now Brazil have Adu lost in the footballing wilderness, less than ten years after the was destined for stardom.
Adu did flash ability whilst with Philadelphia Union, but they swapped him for former Manchester United flop Kleberson in April, and Adu is out of Brazil after just five appearances. But how did such a fantastic talent end up on the football scrapheap?
The case of Adu is yet another situation where too much was expected of a youngster too soon. Adu was featuring in the DC United first team at the age of fourteen, and whilst he was impressing, he became the face of a sport in one of the biggest countries in the world. Featuring in Pepsi adverts, dating pop stars and earning $1m a year thrust the youngster into the media spotlight, and whilst Adu will seemingly never live up to the lofty expectations set for him almost a decade ago, there is most certainly a lesson to be learned from his demise.
Stunningly, Adu is still young enough to revive his career, but having commanded wages that forced Philadelphia Union to let him leave to free up salary cap money, another move away from America could be on the cards – if someone is willing to take a chance on him.
image: © wjarrettc