CHAD WINGER - Saturday, July 28, 2007
United States Under-20 captain Freddy Adu is on his way to Portugal to finalize a reported $2 million transfer to 31-time champions Benfica, signaling the end of much-hyped three-and-a-half years in MLS.
Adu, fresh off a stellar three goal, two-assist performance in the FIFA U20 World Cup in Canada, skipped the Salt Lake match against New England on Saturday, instead flying to meet with his family in Washington DC ahead of a Sunday flight to Lisbon to hammer out the deal.
"They've already agreed to almost all the details of the deal," an official for the Utah franchise told YA late Saturday night, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "There's nothing signed yet, but it's basically a done deal."
Attempts to reach Adu agent Richard Motzkin were unsuccessful.
Following a tumultuous three-years in DC United, Adu was traded to Salt Lake before the current MLS season, but after only 11 matches in the Beehive State, the Ghana-born phenom seems set to begin his European career.
"MLS and Salt Lake have given permission to Freddy Adu to travel to Europe to continue discussions with Portuguese club Benfica," head coach Jason Kreis said in a hastily issued press release Saturday. "This is certainly a scenario that does not surprise us."
"We would like to thank Freddy for his time here and wish him the best of luck."
Benfica, who finished third in the 2006/07 Portuguese SuperLiga, are qualified for the third round qualifying in the UEFA Champions League.
Among the current stars at Estadio da Luz are veterans Nuno Gomes, Petit and Rui Costa, while newly-signed Argentine Angel Di Maria and Manuel Fernandes make up part of the youth movement.
Should the expected deal go through, the 18-year old leaves MLS after less than four years, where he scored 12 times in 98 matches, 69 of which were starts.