Freddy, Adieu

After 3 1/2 tumultuous years, the Freddy Adu era in Major League Soccer may soon be coming to an end. According to Ives Galarcep, MLS has reached an agreement with Portuguese side Benfica for transfer of the 18-year-old Real Salt Lake midfielder. Though terms were not reported, the transfer fee is expected to be in the area of $7.5 million.Adu, long in the spotlight because of his advanced skills as such a young age (14 when he was drafted in 2004), never really panned out in MLS, scoring 12 goals and adding 19 assists over his time with D.C. United and RSL. More often, he was in the spotlight for his teenage antics, including a 2005 outburst over his lack of playing time that earned him a seat on the bench for United's first game of the playoffs that year.

Despite his lack of results in the domestic league, then-17 Adu was given a two-week trial at Manchester United. Though nothing came of the trial, partly because of his age, the buzz surrounding Adu reached new heights upon his return to America.

Traded in the offseason to RSL, many viewed the move as a chance for Adu to start fresh and show that he was the playmaker we had all expected. Instead, his flashes of brilliance were limited - 1 goal and 2 assists in 11 games this year - and his club had fallen all the way into the MLS cellar by the time the U-20 World Cup rolled around.

It was in the recently-concluded tournament that Adu's star shone the brightest, despite the U.S. team's eventual elimination in the quarterfinals at the hands of Austria. His hat trick against Poland in the group stages highlighted the promising youth in this country and got many talking again over his imminent move overseas.

In recent weeks, Adu has been linked with a move to Spain, England and Scotland, but sources inside the league are confirming his imminent move is now to Portugal.

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