The Guardian reports Adriano terminated his contract with Corinthians by mutual consent.
“At the end of Monday, the directors of the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista and the striker Adriano decided, in joint agreement, to end the work contract between the two sides, which was valid until next June,” a club statement said.
Adriano has battled injuries, weight problems, alcohol abuse and depression since returning to Brazil for good last March. He had hoped his performances in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A (first division) would resurrect his international career, but he never came close to reaching that goal.
He made headlines for the wrong reasons when a woman shot herself in the hand with his bodyguard’s gun, while sitting in his car late at night in December.
The striker still hoped to play a role in Corinthians’ Copa Libertadores campaign, but he could not control his weight. The team confined him to its hotel in February, so it could monitor his diet and put him on an intense fitness program. That did not work. Last week, he missed practice and refused to let club doctors weigh him.
“Sad” is the only way to describe the latest twist in his story. Adriano was once among the most feared strikers in all of world soccer. Now he is both a cautionary tale and a mere footnote in the daily news roundup.
According to many reports, Adriano began playing soccer to make his father happy and proud of him. The two shared a tight bond, which strengthened as Adriano rose to fame at an early age.
He was a star in his country’s first division and played internationally for Brazil by age 18. By age 20, his scoring exploits in Italy’s Serie A earned him the nickname “L’Imperatore” (“The Emporer”).
Blessed with an unmatched combination of size, speed and skill, many assumed he would lead Brazil and Inter to glory during his prime. But his father died in 2004, and he fell for the traps of the nightlife and drug and alcohol abuse to cope with the loss.
He continued to play at the top level for the next few years, but his professional habits worsened, frustrating managers and teammates. In 2009, Jose Mourinho (then Inter manager) allowed him to return to Brazil to sort out his problems with weight and substance abuse.
After a short-lived return to Italian soccer last season, he signed with Corinthians. It was unlikely that the team would have extended his contract in June, so ending the relationship now seemed best for all parties. The Brazilian league resumes in May, and he could catch on with another team between now and then.
Adriano has time to sort out his problems. The skills that he used to score 27 goals in 48 games for Brazil haven’t necessarily faded away either. It’s unlikely that another another professional team will take a chance on an overweight 30-year-old with a history of drug and alcohol problems. But stranger things have happened in this game.
Photo via Flickr/crystiancruz