So Freddy Adu, the teenage phenom, often misguidedly compared to Pele, is leaving for a bigger club in a bigger league. Benfica paid $2m for the services of the RSL striker. He is now in Portugal apparently apartment hunting with his mother.
Benfica was home for the legendary Eusebio, the Black Pearl, Portugal's best known player. It was also the first club to break the Real Madrid stranglehold on the European championships, when it enjoyed its finest decade in the 1960s and 1970s. And it leads in the number of Portugese cups won. But of late it has gone through a slump. although there has been a revival of sorts with a Cup win in 2005. It usually places third after Porto and Sporting Club de Portugal.
So the big question is whether Adu who would have definitely seen protracted bench time or reserve duty even if Man Utd had by some miracle signed him on, gets to play in the Benfica starting line up? Well, Benfica might have not won enough silverware in the recent past but it does not lack outstanding players.
It is a club that till recently had Simao Sabroso, the outstanding playmaker who recently left for Atletico Madrid. Adu's compatriots include Rui Costa, the Portugal and former Fiorentina and AC Milan midfielder rated on talent as one of his generations's finest playmakers, Nuno Gomes, a striker who has been having a successful Euro 2008 campaign. Benfica has also benefited from additions to their midfield with two highly rated players from Rosario Central, Angel Di Maria, the Argentinian U20 attacking midfielder who drew praise for his performance in the recently held World Cup and Andres Diaz. Oscar Cardozo, of Panama, signed this season became the most expensive striker in Benfica history. Then there is Petit, another Portugal national team regular who is their go to player for dead ball situations. Kostas Katsouranis, the holding midefielder who led Greece to their shocking Euro 2004 victory over Portugal. And not to overlook the talented Manuel Fernandez who maybe returning to Benfica after his loan spell at Everton.
Given the plethora of talent in the Benfica squad, Adu might see brief spells on the field but I doubt if he could get into the starting squad at this juncture.