Former USMNT wonderkid Freddy Adu says Cristiano Ronaldo was the only player who made an effort to talk to him during his trial for Manchester United in 2006.
Adu was tipped to make it to the very top during his early years in the sport, rising to prominence as a precocious teenager for D.C. United, where his form was such that he made his international debut for the United States at just 16.
It was during this point that Europe started to take notice of the starlet across the Atlantic, and he ultimately went on trial with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in 2006, where he linked up with a hosts of superstars, including Ronaldo.
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Adu wouldn’t land that coveted contract with the Old Trafford club and his career nosedive from ‘the next Pele’ to forgotten man is one well-documented, but he will always have the memory of testing himself with some of the game’s biggest names.
During that trial with Man Utd in the mid-noughties, Adu says there was only one player at the club who made a genuine effort to communicate with him, and that was Ronaldo who, in 2006, had already established himself as one of the game’s best.
“Everybody is always talking about Ronaldo is arrogant, he is this and that, but let me tell you that out of all of the players that were there – he was the one person out of all of them that made it a point to come to me, to talk to me, offered to take me to dinner,” Adu told BritishGambler.co.uk.
“He was an amazing person. Of course, I already had huge respect for Ronaldo, but after that, I had so much respect for him and he literally became my favourite player just because of the kind of person that he was and what I witnessed.
“We had a little bit of a talk – I mostly trained with the U23s when I was there as I was only 16 years old at the time, but I did get a couple of training sessions in with the first team and it was awesome.
“At that point I was so young, I had the contract with D.C. United and MLS wasn’t ready to let me go anywhere at that point. So we spoke with Manchester United and [then-head coach] Sir Alex Ferguson who said he was going to keep an eye on me, and to keep doing what I was doing.”