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Is there any way back for Adriano?
Adriano looks to have played his last match for Inter Milan after failing to return to the Serie A leaders from international duty with Brazil this month and announcing he was taking a break from football.
President Massimo Moratti said last week that Inter were considering extinguishing the player’s contract, which runs until the end of next season.
They have grounds to do so as the failure to turn up to work of the 27-year-old, who has suffered alcohol and personal problems, comes after a string of run-ins with coaches and incidents of indiscipline.
In fairness, Inter have tried hard to restore the fine fettle Adriano displayed between 2004 and 2006, when he was one of Serie A’s most feared forwards and helped Brazil win the 2004 Copa America as the competition’s top scorer.
They allowed him to have a loan stint at Sao Paulo in the first half of 2008, when he scored 16 goals, but he was soon out of sorts again when back in Italy even though his old foe Roberto Mancini had been replaced by coach Jose Mourinho.
Indeed, this time the club appear to have few alternatives to offloading the player after he said he is unhappy in Italy and wants to “live in peace here in Brazil”.
If life in Serie A is really what is getting Adriano down, he will probably not be tempted by future offers from Inter’s domestic rivals, something his agent suggested on Friday.
The burly striker’s comments seem to rule out a move elsewhere in Europe too and his fragile reputation would probably scare off the top clubs at the moment anyway.
But with his blend of speed, power and agility he remains potentially formidable and if gets back into the groove in his homeland, he may soon find the Brazilian top flight limited.
A return to form would help foreign managers forget his troubled past, at which point a transfer to the English Premier League, where the off-field pressure is less intense than in Serie A, would not be out of the question.
You never know. Adriano could come back to haunt Inter in the Champions League yet.
PHOTO: Inter Milan’s Brazilian soccer striker Adriano smiles during a news conference in Rio de Janeiro, April 9, 2009. Reuters photo.