Where are they now? – Adrian Mutu
Nearly ten years ago, Adrian Mutu was one of World football’s greatest prospects.
A starlet born in Romania in 1979, the striker has appeared for some of Europe’s top sides, and has gone on to score nearly 200 career goals.
In August of 2003 he signed for Chelsea for a fee of £15million, but he never really became a star. So we ask, where is he now?
One of Romania’s best ever players, the striker began his career at his hometown club Argeș Pitești, before moving to capital club Dinamo București.
During a four year spell as a professional player in his homeland, Mutu made nearly 100 appearances, scoring close to 50 goals, and his strong performances hadn’t gone unnoticed by the footballing world.
Italian football was on the up at the time. An Italian team had featured in the final of the Champions League seven years running, with Juventus the big force of the country.
Inter Milan snapped up Mutu in 2000, but he failed to make an impact in the Serie A, and was quickly sold on to Verona before more poor performances saw him move to Parma.
It seemed a career with so much potential was set to be wasted, but the great Cesare Prandelli worked his magic, partnering him with Brazilian Adriano.
The duo formed a deadly striking option for the Italian side, and once again, interest from across the globe was focused on one young Romanian.
In 2003, Roman Abramovich completed his takeover of Chelsea, and top of his list of many transfer targets was one Adrian Mutu.
€22.5m forced Parma to part with the player who scored four goals in his first three games for the Blues. Two came in a 4–2 victory over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, an things seemed on the up for Mutu.
But come the beginning of the 2004-05 season, it seems the Romanian’s luck was up again. He fell out with Jose Mourinho, and out of form. But, somehow, worse was to come.
In September of that season, he failed a drugs test, registering positive for cocaine. The Blues released him from his contract by the end of October.
A seven-month ban soon followed and a £20,000 fine from the FA.
With his career in tatters, Mutu, sought salvation back in Italy. A deal was struck with Livorno but he was dubiously shipped on to Juventus within a few days, with whom he signed a five-year contract.
His ban prevented him from playing until the 2005-06 season in the Serie A, when he began to get back on track.
Seven goals came from 32 league matches, offering him the chance to play in the Champions League for the Old Lady where he made eight appearances.
But just when things were nearly perfect, Juventus were relegated to the Serie B following the 2006 Italian football scandal, prompting Mutu to leave the club.
Meanwhile, Chelsea were chasing the striker down, threatening to sue him for breaching his contract with them.
The Football Association Premier League Appeals Committee decided Chelsea were eligible to claim compensation, and they sort to reclaim the transfer fee paid for him plus various other fees paid out.
Mutu appealed, and Chelsea decided to take their case to FIFA.
By now, the Romania international had signed with Fiorentina, reuniting him with his former manager Prandelli.
Mutu linked up with Luca Toni in attack, forming a strong partnership which yielded 32 goals in the 2006–07 season. He was named Player of the Season by “Il Calcio”, due to his 16 goals and eight assists in 33 games.
Once again, Mutu was in the spotlight, attracting interest this time form Roma, who made a reported €18million offer for him in the summer of 2008.
But he quickly signed a new four-year contract in Florence, giving his talents a chance to flourish.
Mutu saw the highlights of career in Fiorentina, including a wonderful individual performance against Genoa in which his side where 3-0 down, but he almost single handedly brought the final score to 3-3.
However, he was soon ordered by FIFA to pay Chelsea €18m in damages, but has yet to do so. It is believed he could be banned from football if he does not pay up, but he is likely to appeal to the European Court of Justice.
Come January 2010, Mutu was hit with another scandal as he failed a doping test following a Coppa Italia game.
Hit with a nine-month ban, following his previous experiences, Mutu’s career was almost certainly over. But a public apology and the sacking of his agent soon saw him reinstated in the Fiorentina first team.
Where is he now?
An ageing Adrian Mutu became the undisputed captain of Romania and soon signed for AC Cesena in Italy.
He still stood in the limelight, even in the lower reaches of the Serie A, but once Cesena were relegated, Mutu cancelled his contract and can now be found playing his football for AC Ajaccio in France.