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Anyone who is synonymous with Freddy Adu and Football Manager will be able to relate to this.
The pocket striker was a must buy in the early years of the popular simulation management game.
Adu’s in-game stats were incredible to say the least, tearing apart defenses in MLS, the Premier League and beyond.
He burst onto the scene at just 14, becoming the youngest American to ever sign a professional big-league contract with DC United.
Adu also made a mega contract with Nike, before going to court with Manchester United at the age of 16.
Sir Alex Ferguson was a huge fan of Adu’s talents, but a decision never materialized.
“Freddy did well. He’s a talented boy. He will return to the United States and we will monitor him. When he turns 18, we’ll have to assess what we can do next, ”Fergie said at the time.
Unfortunately for Adu, his career fell apart after all the hype surrounding him.
It seemed like he was still on the right track when he signed a deal with Portuguese Giants Benfica in 2007.
However, he has only made 11 appearances in four years at the club, spending time on loan at Monaco, Belenenses and Çaykur Rizespor.
Adu returned home to MLS in 2011 with the Philadelphia Union, but once again made no impact and was later released after scoring just seven goals in 35 appearances.
A seven-month stint in Brazil with Bahia was also unsuccessful, before qualifying for a try with then-league side Blackpool.
During a lawsuit with the Seasiders in February 2014, Adu spoke about his widely recognized reputation on Football Manager in a lengthy interview with the club’s YouTube channel.
“I get a lot of tweets with people who call me a Football Manager legend and I’m like ‘damn, I wish it was like that in real life,'” he joked.
“I haven’t played this game, but I have a lot of friends who have played it and they’ve told me about it, so it’s pretty cool.”
In 2015, Adu remarkably signed for his 12th professional club, joining the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
It only lasted one season, with unsuccessful tries at the Portland Timbers and Polish team Sandecja Nowy Sącz following in the 2017 campaign.
Adu was offered a new opportunity at the newly formed Las Vegas Lights in 2018, but after a goal in just 14 appearances he was soon set to leave the club.
Now 32 and without a club, it seems increasingly unlikely that the once-teenage sensation, which Jamie O’Hara tried to sign during his days as Billericay Town boss, will regain a foothold in the professional game.
That said, in an interview with ESPN in 2019, Adu claimed he was not ready to give up on his football dream.
“I am still very young. I’m not ready to give up, ”he explained.
“Things didn’t turn out the way I would have liked, obviously. But I love sport too much to say I’m ready to give it up.
To this day, he still receives inquiries on Facebook, and sometimes through his agent, regarding his availability.
The first signs were very promising, but not all stories have a happy ending.
It’s not for lack of trying in Adu’s case, but sometimes in life you have to say enough is enough.