Almost forgotten for two years, Freddy Adu reintroduced himself to American soccer with a pair of impressive efforts in the late stages of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. As the 2014 World Cup cycle begins, the 22-year-old midfielder-forward is back in the roster mix and seems certain to receive additional call-ups leading to the start of qualifying next summer.
But what about his immediate future? He has a year remaining on his contract with Portuguese club Benfica, which, in recent years, loaned him to clubs in France, Portugal, Greece and Turkey.
“Freddy’s plans have always been to return to Benfica for preseason training [in mid-July], although there are teams that have expressed interest in him,” Richard Motzkin, his Los Angeles-based agent, told the Insider. “We’ll see how the next few weeks play out.”
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Motzkin declined to identify the interested parties and wouldn’t speculate about Adu’s chances of sticking with Benfica this season, although another loan seems likely. It’s clear, however, he won’t return to Rizespor, the Turkish second-division club that missed out on promotion. (Had the team moved into the top flight, he might’ve stayed.)
Adu’s willingness to play for a largely anonymous club proved that he’s been humbled by his difficult experiences and is committed to rebuilding his career away from the limelight.
And Adu’s Gold Cup performances, as a second-half catalyst against Panama in the semifinals and an influential starter against Mexico in the final, probably boosted his stock in Europe.
“It speaks volumes about his growth as a player and as a person,” Motzkin said of the Gold Cup effort. “But it has to be kept in perspective; it’s one small step. I give [U.S. Coach] Bob Bradley a lot of credit for taking that risk and giving him the chance.”