The Emperor’s New Clothes: Adriano Returns

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Here comes the story of a hurricane. Remember Adriano? After a whirlwind career of enormous potential went wayward, and with several failed comebacks, the Brazilian has put pen to paper once more, this time with ‘the Hurricane’, Atlético Paranaense.

The player nicknamed the Emperor during his time in Italy has not played since being released by both Corinthians and then Flamengo in 2012. Having trained since December with Atlético Paranaense, who will compete in the Copa Libertadores this year, the 32-year-old has signed a deal, believed to be until the end of the season, with the Curitiba-based club.

After a string of broken contracts in a career that took in Flamengo, Inter Milan, Fiorentina, Parma, Sao Paulo, Roma, and Corinthians, Adriano has thanked his newest club for their support as he finally returns to the sport. 

adriano“I’m very happy to sign the contract with Atletico Paranaense,” he told the club website. “It’s very gratifying, after so much work and dedication during practice. Today I have the opportunity to return to football with the Hurricane.”

Born in Rio de Janeiro and raised in the Vila Cruzeiro Favela, Adriano Leite Ribeiro joined Flamanego as a youth player, and scored seven goals in 19 appearances for the first team to earn a move to Inter Milan in 2001. After a successful spell at Parma, Adriano returned to the San Siro in 2004 when his career was at his height.

A player of massive talent, Adriano won four titles in Italy and the Confederations Cup and Copa América with Brazil. Things took a turn for the worst and his off-the-field behaviour and work ethic were called into question. Late night partying and poor performances led to criticism and loan periods back in Brazil.

Many observers saw the death of his father in 2004 as a turning point in Adriano’s career. Battles with alcohol and weight problems followed. Late arrivals to training sessions and a no show following international duty eventually saw his contract at Inter terminated.

He returned to Europe when signing a three year deal with Roma in 2010 but lasted just seven months. A spell at Corinthians and a reunion with Flamengo failed to spark, but the striker with 27 goals for Brazil has been given another shot at redemption with Atlético Paranaense.

“The team was eager for me to sign the contract here. This is very important because the team has supported me a lot on this journey A wonderful, united and close group.”

“I will continue working hard to get in the game and do what I know best which is scoring goals. I want to help Atletico and give joy to the fans,” he said.

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