There’s nothing sadder in football than wasted talent.
Adriano, the former Brazilian striker, had it in abundance but ultimately failed to live up to his immense potential during his topsy-turvy career.
Off-field problems cost Adriano the chance to cement his reputation as an all-time great. He had all the tools required to become a legend.
However, the South American still provided us with some unforgettable moments.
Although many people reading this will probably remember Adriano for his ridiculous ability on Pro Evolution Soccer 6 - read more about that HERE - he scored some breathtaking goals in real life, too.
Video: Adriano's free-kick v Real Madrid
Like his Pro Evo character, Adriano was blessed with an absolute hammer of a left foot
And he used it to score one of the best goals of his career in a friendly against Real Madrid back in August 2001.
This must surely go down as one of the most powerful free-kicks of all time. Three goalkeepers wouldn’t have stopped this strike…
Or skip to 3:10 in this video for a slightly clearer version...
This was Adriano’s first goal for Inter Milan and, indeed, his first goal in European football.
Zanetti: 'I said to myself we've found the new Ronaldo'
Javier Zanetti instead earlier this year that he thought Inter had the new Ronaldo on their hands after watching the ball fly into the back of the net.
“When he scored that goal at Real Madrid, I said to myself that we’d found the new Ronaldo,” the Argentine told reporters, per Football Italia. “But he came from the favelas, which frightened me because I saw how dangerous it was there, and when you become rich from nothing, everything becomes more insidious.”
Zanetti also admitted that preventing Adriano from spiralling into depression following the death of his father remains his “biggest defeat”.
“When he had the phone call about the death of his father, we were in the room,” Zanetti added. “He thumped the phone [back on the hook] and began screaming in a way that one can’t imagine. It still shivers me today.
“From that day, Massimo Moratti and I treated him as a younger brother.
“He continued to play football, scoring and dedicating his goals to his father by pointing to the sky. But after that phone call, nothing was the same as before.
“One night, Ivan Cordoba shared a room with him and told him he was a mix between Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and asked him if he was aware that he would become the world’s best.
“We weren’t able to pull him out of the tunnel of depression. That was my biggest defeat, I felt powerless.”
Adriano to return to football?
The Daily Mail revealed earlier this month that Adriano, now 35, is planning to return to football following a brief spell with Miami United last year.
“I’m preparing myself for a new project, I'll be back in training in January, without a club,” he told TV Globo.
“Ever since I stopped, I have succeeded in maintaining my shape. I want this and I know I'll have to persist.
“I want to do this for myself, I want to show I can reach my limits so I can tell if I can play or not.
“I couldn't complete my career as a whole. Something's happened and pushed me away from football. I can say [my career] stopped at half-time.”
All the best, Adriano.