You need only look at the likes of Pele, Ronaldo and Neymar to realise that Brazilian greats often rise to prominence early in their careers. However, for every Pele there is also a Gabigol, who looks destined for stardom but never quite lives up to their potential. Nevertheless, the Brazilian who had the highest potential but never quite lived up to it was Adriano.
Adriano, like Ronaldo before him, was gifted with blistering pace, brute strength and a powerful shot which could worry keepers from any distance. After breaking into the Flamengo side at just 17 and dominating in Brazil’s Serie A he moved to Italy’s Serie A to play for Inter Milan- also following in the footsteps of Ronaldo. Loan moves to Fiorentina and Parma followed, with the youngster scoring 23 goals in 37 appearances for the latter, before finally taking the starting spot for the Nerazzuri when Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid.
Success followed at Inter, with the forward scoring 28 goals in all competitions in his second year as a starter. However, it was during this season that Adriano’s life and his career would drastically change, as his father died aged just 44 in his sleep. The striker was incredibly close to his father and many link his father’s premature death to Adriano’s decline. Adriano began drinking as he struggled with depression and his once great work ethic and dedication started to wither. The striker began to gain weight which had a dramatic effect on his athleticism based game and the once great player fell by the wayside. However, if not for his father’s passing we may hold Adriano in the same light as other selecao legends.