Freddy Adu Heads to Portugal

Onetime MLS savior turns 18, signs with Benfica
By Joseph Fasano,  Newser User
Posted Aug 1, 2007 7:07 AM CDT
U.S. soccer player Freddy Adu smiles as he warms up during his first training session on Tuesday, July 31, 2007, at the Benfica soccer club training camp in Seixal, outside Lisbon, Portugal. Adu, 18,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Teenage phenom Freddy Adu is leaving American soccer for the Portuguese Benfica squad. The midfielder, who's played in MLS since the age of 14, has signed a 5-year deal with the 103-year-old European club for an undisclosed amount. Though he's had his eye on an oversease contract for a decade, international rules barred Adu from signing until he turned 18.

Benfica bought the Ghana-native's MLS contract for $2 million, and is expected to pay its new star just over half a million for the upcoming year. Adu's new team has a rich history, with 31 championships in 70 years, though undoubtedly its recent struggles motivated his acquisition. The 18-year-old also picked up endorsement deals with Nike and Pepsi this week.