Adriano: Football's forgotten man


Explosive, physical, skillful and destined for greatness. This was how Adriano Leite Ribeiro was lauded before his lack of work ethic, focus and personal problems were exposed, drastically affecting his performance.

The last few years have seen the 31-year-old's career descend in to the abyss of the footballing world after his last employers Flamengo abruptly released him after his capricious nature saw him miss three consecutive training sessions.  

This ill-fated turn of events evoked the contemplation of retirement for the once promising striker and its something he didn't want to rule out. 

It was a far cry from the start of his career when inspiring performances in the youth academy forced the team to promote Adriano to the first team at Flamengo. 

This paid off as Adriano only had to wait until his second game before he scored his first goal for the Mengao in a contest against the storied São Paulo. 

Taking place in the first team with a sense of poise, it wouldn't be long before Italian side Inter Milan were infatuated with the limitless potential and brought the player to southern Europe.

At the developmental and youthful age of 19 the Nerazzurri decided to send him to Fiorentina on loan. The loan proved to be fruitful, scoring six goals for the Florence team. 

Parma agreed a co-ownership deal with Inter for the Brazilian and over the next two years his development would elevate. The move saw a glowing goal scoring record of 25 goals in 37 games that sent excitement through Milan. 

As anticipated, Inter brought the Brazilian back to the San Siro for the 2003-2004 season. It proved fruitful as he scored 17 goals on his return to Milan and thusly proved his worth. However, it would be the 2004-2005 season that Adriano reached the pinnacle of his career and, at the peak of his powers, he scored an impressive 33 goals in 46 games for both club and country. 

This prompted the striker to sign a contract extension with the club that would run through to 2010. The 2005-2006 season followed another successful year as he was on target 19 times. 

This would begin the downfall of the star’s career as his dedication was scrutinised after two occurrences in which he was caught partying at nightclubs. This saw more controversy follow the player as his focus was swayed by the drinking culture and the fame that football had given him. These habitually negative actions where deeply impairing his efficiency for Inter. 

This created a toxic relationship with owner Massimo Moratti and manager Roberto Mancini, which resulted in falling out of favour at the club and been sent back to Brazil on loan to São Paulo. 

This however, had no effect on the increasingly volatility of his personality. The disharmony Adriano's presence was having on the club compelled them to send the player back to Italy early. 

Inter Milan finally decided to release the player in 2009 as his intolerable actions continued. Flamengo signed the striker on a free transfer to a one year contract and after enjoying relative success in Brazil, Serie A side A.S Roma paid to bring him to the Italian capital.  

This was a disastrous move in Adriano's career making an embarrassing five appearances after an initial malleolar injury hampered the settling period. The Giallorossi terminated his contact on March 8th 2011.  Disappointing stays at Corinthians and a return to Flamengo have seen the powerhouse exiled into free agency.

It is a sad tale about the downfall of a once highly rated Brazilian striker with the world at his feet who was seduced and ruined by the perils and pitfalls of modern football. 

The mental health and stability of Adriano has been questioned by worryied onlookers as the consequences of his actions stalk him.

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