News reports in Brazil this week state that former international striker Adriano – formerly of Internazionale, Fiorentina and Parma – has been given a six month contract by Internacional, who hope their signing will be able to revive a career which has quickly collapsed after such an incredible start.
By 18, Adriano was already in the first team at Flamengo and had been capped by the Selecao, scoring seven goals in 19 games and then attracting the attention of European clubs, particularly Internazionale who parted with just over £10 million to bring him to Italy.
In his first Serie A season of 2001/2002 he played for Inter as well as heading to Fiorentina on loan, scoring seven league goals in just 15 games on the new continent. Parma saw the potential in the young man and believed he should be in their Serie A first team.
After signing for the Crusaders he teamed up with Adrian Mutu to create a deadly strike force and combined to achieve 23 goals in 37 games for the club. Internazionale owner Giacinto Facchetti saw that he had made a mistake in allowing the Brazilian to leave and this time parted with double the money they had originally paid Flamengo to obtain his services.
However, when he did, he also secured four straight Serie A titles for the club.
Adriano’s success at Internazionale was phenomenal and was a period of the striker’s life where success was bountiful. As well as scoring 65 goals to achieve four successive league titles, he also got himself two Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana trophies along with the Copa America and Confederations Cup with the Brazilian national side in 2004 and 2005.
He finished the 2005 Confederations Cup as top scorer with five goals, including a winning brace against Argentina in the final.
He had become one of the world’s greatest strikers and it seemed that he would lead his club side and national team onto more and more glory.
But overnight his world came crashing in. Unfortunately in 2006 the Brazilian suffered the heartbreak of his father dying prematurely and it is widely agreed that that experience deeply affected the striker’s focus and love of the game.
His remaining years at Inter were marked more by events off the pitch – involving women, food, booze and drugs – rather than anything on it. He tested the club’s patience in his final year when he failed to return to the squad after an international game, despite Massimo Moratti allowing him an extended winter break for personal reasons.
His miserable end at Internazionale was interrupted by a brief loan spell back to Brazil with Sao Paulo in which he enjoyed a upturn in form before his commitment once again waned and the club became tired of chasing him up to find out why he wasn’t at the training ground. During a game in 2008 he head-butted a Santos defender and almost risked an 18 month suspension, but the incident pushed officials at Sao Paulo too far and they cut short his loan spell.
The wilderness years had officially begun in which he played for Flamengo and Corinthians in Brazil, as well as a year at Roma, who tried to see if they could reignite his career in Europe. He signed on a three year contract but only managed seven months of it in which he featured just five times. Once again, he was constantly flying back to his home in Brazil on unofficial visits and was regularly caught out clubbing.
Brazilian fans will all want to see Adriano gets his life back on track and achieve some success at Internacional but no one will expect him to achieve his previous dizzying form, much to football’s loss.
image: © jonnyr1