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Throughout the early noughties, Adriano was the shining beacon and future star of Brazilian football. By the time he departed Roma at the start of the following decade, his stock had plummeted so far that the picture accompanying this slide symbolises the greatest thing Roma supporters saw during the Brazilian international’s time in the Italian capital; the back of Adriano.
Adriano began his career in his native Brazil with Flamengo, where his impressive performances for the youth team saw him earn promotion to the senior squad in just one year. His superb form meant his name was soon touted around Europe. Italy was the chosen destination for his big-money move, where he arrived at Inter in 2000.
Life in Italy began well for Adriano. His debut season saw him impress during a loan spell at Fiorentina, before excelling in two years at Parma, in a two-year co-ownership deal. His great form continued on his return to Inter in 2004, earning him a new contract that would extend his Inter stay until 2010.
It was all downhill from there.
The tragic loss of his father in 2004 affected him greatly. Terrified at the thought of becoming the man of the family, and with his motivations to play football, making his father happy and to make money, gone, Adriano lost his way. Questions over his commitment were raised, as he battled personal demons.
After two spells on unpaid leave to his native Brazil, where he attended Sao Paulo's training center due to his poor physical condition and a past battle with alcoholism, Adriano eventually re-joined Flamengo in 2009, where he began putting back together the pieces of his career.
After a positive spell in Brazil, Claudio Ranieri took a gamble in attempting to revive the former Brazilian star’s career when he brought him to Roma on a free transfer back in 2010. It was a gamble that would backfire spectacularly.
Controversy had followed Adriano throughout his career and that was no different during his brief, but tumultuous spell at Roma. Numerous injuries, discipline breaches, including failing to turn up for training as scheduled after spending weeks in Brazil recovering from a broken arm, and a clear lack of interest, saw Adriano’s career falter once again
Seven months, and a measly five games, into his lucrative three-year deal, Adriano and Roma parted ways, after an agreement to terminate his €5M a year contract was reached. With barely any matches, no goals to his name, and little effort, for Roma, Adriano was a very, very expensive error.
Adriano’s failure at AS Roma can be summed up most succinctly with the following fact; in 2010, Adriano become the first player to win the Bidone d'oro three times. No other player has won the award more than once.