Adriano (footballer, born 1982)

Adriano Leite Ribeiro (born February 17, 1982), commonly known simply as Adriano, is a Brazilian former professional footballer. A powerful striker known for his long range left footed strikes, Adriano's career was however marked by inconsistency.[1] One of the best strikers in the world in the mid 2000s, he had five prolific seasons in Italy with Parma and Inter Milan, earning the nickname L'Imperatore (the Emperor), before a decline in his performances which coincided with the death of his father.[2][3] Adriano won four Scudetti for Inter Milan, and after moving back to his native Brazil he won two Brasileirão for Flamengo and Corinthians.

Adriano in 2009
Personal information
Full name Adriano Leite Ribeiro
Date of birth (1982-02-17) February 17, 1982
Place of birth Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Position(s) Striker
Youth career
1997–1999 Flamengo
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2001 Flamengo 24 (10)
2001–2002 Inter Milan 8 (1)
2002Fiorentina (loan) 15 (6)
2002–2004 Parma 37 (23)
2004–2009 Inter Milan 115 (47)
2008 → São Paulo (loan) 0 (0)
2009–2010 Flamengo 32 (19)
2010–2011 Roma 5 (0)
2011–2012 Corinthians 4 (1)
2012 Flamengo 0 (0)
2014 Atlético Paranaense 1 (0)
2016 Miami United 0 (0)
Total 241 (107)
National team
1999 Brazil U17 5 (0)
2001–2002 Brazil U20 9 (6)
2000–2010 Brazil 48 (27)
Representing  Brazil
FIFA Confederations Cup
Winner2005 Germany
Copa América
Winner2004 Peru
South American U-20 Championship
Winner2001 Ecuador
FIFA U-17 World Cup
Winner1999 New Zealand
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of January 18, 2017

Making his Brazil debut at 18, Adriano was considered the long-term successor to Ronaldo. In the absence of Ronaldo he led Brazil to the 2004 Copa América, receiving the Golden Boot as the competition's leading scorer with seven goals. He also won the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil, receiving the Golden Boot Award as the competition's leading scorer with five goals. Prior to the 2006 World Cup he was part of Brazil's much-vaunted "magic quartet" of offensive players alongside Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaká, which ultimately was not successful at the finals.[4]

Club career

Early career

Adriano started his career in 1999 on Flamengo's youth squad and earned promotion to the senior squad one year later. He made his team debut on 2 February 2000, a Torneio Rio-São Paulo match against Botafogo. He scored a goal against São Paulo in the same competition 4 days later.[5]

Despite signing a two-year contract with Flamengo in June 2000, he secured a move to Inter Milan for the 2001–02 season. Inter sold another half of Vampeta to PSG (ultimately to Flamengo from PSG for undisclosed fee) for €9.757 million[6] in exchange for Adriano who was valued €13.189 million.[6][7] Adriano scored his first goal with the club against Real Madrid in a friendly match as a substitute.[8]


Adriano was loaned to Fiorentina for the 2001–02 season,[9][10] after which a two-year co-ownership deal with Parma was agreed, for €8.8 million,[6] in order to acquire Fabio Cannavaro which also included another half of Matteo Ferrari for €5.7 million[6][11] He formed an impressive striking duo with Adrian Mutu, scoring 22 goals in 36 appearances. He missed the month of November 2003 due to injury.[12]

Return to Inter Milan

Adriano returned to the San Siro in January 2004 on a 4+12-year contract, for about €23.4 million[nb 1][14] and scored a total of 12 goals in the rest of 2003–04 season. From 11 July 2004 through 29 June 2005, Adriano was in peak form, scoring an impressive total of 42 goals in both domestic and international competitions.[15] In September 2005, Inter rewarded him for his efforts with an improved contract running until June 30, 2010.[16]

He got a phone call from Brazil ‘Adri, dad is dead’. "I saw him in his room, he threw the phone and started screaming. You couldn’t imagine that kind of scream. Since that day Moratti (Inter chairman) and myself watched over him as he was our little brother. He kept playing football, scoring goals, and pointing to the sky dedicating them to his father. After that phone call nothing was the same. Iván Córdoba (Inter teammate) spent one night with him and said ‘Adri, you’re a mix of Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimović. Are you aware you could become the best player ever?’ We did not succeed of pulling him out of depression.

Javier Zanetti, Inter Milan teammate, and club captain, on the impact on Adriano of the death of his father in 2004.[17]

Following the signing of the new deal, Adriano's future at Inter suffered due to poor performances, fueled by questions and speculation regarding his work ethic, which was called into question when he was twice caught partying at nightclubs during the 2006–07 campaign. Brazilian coach Dunga did not call Adriano up for a friendly against Ecuador on 10 October 2006, and called for him to "change his behavior" and "focus on football". On 18 February 2007, Adriano skipped a team practice due to effects from a lengthy celebration of his birthday the night before, which led to Inter manager Roberto Mancini benching him for the team's Champions League match against Valencia and subsequent Serie A fixture against Catania.[18]

Loan to São Paulo

Adriano at São Paulo in March 2008

On November 16, 2007, Inter owner Massimo Moratti sent Adriano on unpaid leave to his native Brazil for the second time in eighteen months, where he attended São Paulo's training center, due to his poor physical condition and a past battle with alcoholism. Though his agent denied Adriano's desire to return to Brazilian club football, Adriano claimed he was willing to leave Inter in the January transfer window in search of regular playing time, with the Italian press stating interest from West Ham United and Manchester City.[19] In December 2007, Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra expressed interest in bringing Adriano to the club during the January transfer window, commenting,

Adriano was a top player, but he lost form when his father died, and he put on weight.[20]

Moratti, however, stated that Adriano would remain with Inter. "I would like him back here in January, as strong and as good as he was."[21] On 10 December, Inter technical director Marco Branca said that Adriano was expected to rejoin the team at the start of the new year. "[The] news has been good. We intend to leave him in peace until the end of the programme and then he will be treated like the other players."[22] Inter finalized a deal on 19 December to loan Adriano to São Paulo for the remainder of the 2007–08 season in order to allow him to compete in the 2008 Copa Libertadores. São Paulo fans were soon seen standing in long lines to buy his new number 10 jersey at the team's official merchandise retailer after Adriano was introduced and his shirt was unveiled at a team press conference.[23] Adriano celebrated his competitive debut with São Paulo by scoring both goals in their 2–1 victory over Guaratinguetá on the opening day of the 2008 Paulista tournament.

He was sent off after headbutting Santos fullback Domingos on 10 February 2008, and was suspended for two matches after initially risking a suspension of eighteen months.[24] He was fined by São Paulo on 29 February for arriving 30 minutes late for training, then leaving early and exchanging words with a photographer. According to team sporting director Marco Aurélio Cunha, Adriano "left the training ground because he wanted to. The team does not miss him. If he is not happy at São Paulo, he is free to go."[25] São Paulo sporting director Carlos Augusto de Barros e Silva announced on 17 June that Adriano was returning to Inter ahead of schedule. "We have a balanced squad and it was better for Adriano to go back, given that we won't be able to count on him for the rest of the campaign."[26]

2008–09 season

Adriano heading a goal in a Milan derby on 15 February 2009

Adriano was a regular goalscorer in the early stages of the 2008–09 Serie A campaign, reaching a combined total of 100 domestic goals in the Italian Serie A and the Brazilian Série A. On 22 October 2008, Adriano scored the winner in a 1–0 win over Anorthosis Famagusta, and, with this goal, Adriano scored his 18th Champions League goal, and 70th for the club.[27]

In December, Inter Milan allowed him special dispensation to return to Brazil over the winter break earlier than planned. Inter confirmed on 4 April that Adriano had not returned from international duty with Brazil and had signed no contract with the club.[28] On 24 April, Adriano finally rescinded his contract with Inter.[29][30]


Adriano with Flamengo in 2009

Adriano signed a one-year contract for Brazilian club Flamengo on 6 May 2009, the club with which he started his career.[31] On his debut after returning to Flamengo, played on 31 May 2009, he scored a goal against Atlético Paranaense.[32][33] On 21 June 2009, he scored his first hat-trick for Flamengo in the 4–0 win over Internacional in the Brazilian Série A;[34] his performances would be instrumental to lead Flamengo to their first Brazilian Serie A title since 1992.

On 31 January 2010, Adriano scored his second hat-trick since his return, this time in a 5–3 comeback win in the Fla-Flu derby against rivals Fluminense in the 2010 Rio de Janeiro State League.


On 8 June 2010, Italian Serie A club Roma announced that Adriano had signed a three-year contract with the club, effective on 1 July, earning a gross annual salary of €5M.[35] He was then presented to the press with the no. 8 shirt. Roma terminated the contract on 8 March 2011, after seven months in the Italian capital.[36]

For all his physical strength, there is something of the lost, sweet-eyed child in Adriano. It became apparent after the premature loss of his father. Adriano has confessed that he was terrified by the thought of becoming the man of the family. And there was something else: his great motivations to play football were to make his father happy and, of course, to make money. Now, with his father gone and his bank balance bulging, what was the point? The sacrifices of the life of an athlete, once part of his routine, were now an unbearable limitation. Why bother with training when he could drink, either to mourn the loss of his dad or to celebrate the fact that he could buy all the drink that he wanted. The tragedy, of course, is that their talent has a sell-by date. In a decade's time, someone like Adriano will be able to go where he likes, with whoever he likes to wherever he likes. But he will surely feel better about himself if he can legitimately believe that he took his footballing talent as far as it could go.

Tim Vickery writing for the BBC on Adriano's wasted talent after his departure from Roma.[2]


On 25 March 2011, he signed a one-year deal with Corinthians.[37] Adriano ruptured his Achilles tendon on 19 April, while he was training, after the surgery he spent six months recovering.[38] After recovering, he played his first game for Corinthians on 9 October 2011, when his club beat Atlético Goianiense 3–0.[39] His first goal for Corinthians came on 20 October in the home game versus Atlético Mineiro, and was the winning goal that made the game 2-1 and gave Corinthians a two-point lead in the Championship with only two games remaining. On 12 March 2012, Adriano was released by Corinthians, after his irregular appearances and lack of interest.[40]


On 21 August 2012 Adriano signed a contract with Flamengo. On 7 November 2012 he was released by Flamengo.

Atlético Paranaense

On 11 February 2014 the Brazilian striker signed a deal with Atlético Paranaense. On 11 April 2014 he was released by Atlético Paranaense.

Miami United and retirement

On 29 January 2016, Adriano signed a contract with Miami United of the National Premier Soccer League.[41] On 28 May 2016 he left Miami United.

International career

Adriano with the Brazil national football team. He scored 27 goals in 48 appearances for Brazil.

Adriano made his international debut for Brazil in a World Cup qualifier against Colombia on 15 November 2000 at the age of 18. He was often considered as the long-term successor to Ronaldo. Adriano scored his first international goal on 11 June 2003 in a friendly against Nigeria. He was included in the Brazil team for 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, and led Brazil's attack alongside Ronaldinho in the absence of Ronaldo. He appeared in all three matches and scored two goals as Brazil was eliminated in the group stage. He missed the 2004 CONMEBOL Men Pre-Olympic Tournament due to injury.

The following year, he was included in Brazil team for 2004 Copa América. Brazil won the cup and Adriano won the Golden Boot as the competition's leading scorer with seven goals. In the final match against Argentina, Adriano dramatically scored the equalizer in the 93rd minute. The match went on to penalties and Brazil finally won 4–2, with Adriano scoring his penalty. After the match, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira singled out Adriano as a very important factor in winning the title.[42]

In 2005, Adriano once again had an impressive tournament with Brazil, this time in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup. Adriano was named Player of the Tournament and received the Golden Boot Award as the competition's leading scorer with five goals. In the final, he steered Brazil to victory, scoring two goals in a 4–1 victory over Argentina.[43]

Adriano was called up for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, forming part of Brazil's highly publicized "magic quartet" of offensive players alongside Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaká.[4] He scored his first goal on 18 June 2006 in a 2–0 win against Australia and his second in a 3–0 victory against Ghana. Despite his two goals, Adriano's World Cup campaign was considered a disappointment, as he managed only five shots all tournament, while Brazil as a whole were unable to find the right mix between defence and attack, ultimately being eliminated in the quarter-finals by France.[44]

After the disappointing World Cup, Adriano's international career declined due to a series of poor club performances and personal problems. Adriano has featured once for Brazil under Dunga's regime since the conclusion of the World Cup, as a halftime substitute during a 2–0 friendly loss to Portugal on 6 February 2007. In 2008, Adriano finally regained his form during his stint at São Paulo FC and earned a recall to the national team. On 10 October 2008, Adriano scored his first international goal in two years in a World Cup qualifier against Venezuela. He was a regular member of Brazil squad during World Cup qualification, and was brought for the team's last friendly prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup against Republic of Ireland.[45] However, Adriano was one of the two players dropped from the final 23-men squad by coach Dunga,[46][47] along with Carlos Eduardo (who had replaced an injured Elano against Ireland). The backup of injured Luís Fabiano on the Ireland game, Grafite, instead occupied Adriano's place.[48] Adriano was also left out of the backup player list.[49]

Style of play

"I played with great champions. I played with players that were I played with players that I saw were a talent and, but the one I felt could do it longer, and he didn't do it, was Adriano when I was at Inter. He could shoot from every angle, nobody could tackle him, nobody could take the ball, he was a pure animal."

Adriano was a well-rounded, versatile, and modern striker, who combined pace and physicality with nimble footwork and excellent technical skills; due to his dominance, power, and skill, he was given the nickname L'Imperatore ("The Emperor") during his time in Italy.[51][52] Adriano was a left-footed player,[53] who was gifted with excellent ball control, dribbling ability, and creativity.[54][55] He was also a strong forward, with an eye for goal, and an immensely powerful striker of the ball with his left foot,[56][57] as well as was an accurate free-kick taker;[56][58] he was also effective in the air,[56][59] and had the ability to link-up with his teammates and provide assists.[60] Regarded as a highly promising player in his youth,[61][62][63] Adriano's qualities and playing style drew comparisons with that of compatriot Ronaldo, and he was even initially regarded as his potential successor in the media.[63][64] Despite his natural talent, Adriano's consistency, character, fitness, and work-rate were brought into question after the death of his father; moreover, his struggles with depression and alcoholism, combined with his hedonistic and turbulent lifestyle off the pitch, as well as his personal troubles, injury struggles, and lack of discipline in training, also contributed to his significant weight gain as his career progressed. Due to his inconsistency in later years, he was widely regarded in the media for failing to live up to his initial potential.[52][63][64][2][51] As such, although he was considered one of the best players in the world at his peak,[65][66][67] Adriano is also a record three–time winner of the Bidone d'Oro Award, a prize is given to the worst Serie A player during a particular season, which he won in 2006 and 2007 with Inter, and in 2010 with Roma.[68]

Personal life

In November 2014, a judge in Rio de Janeiro cleared Adriano of charges of drug trafficking which had first been alleged in 2010, due to a lack of sufficient evidence.[69]

Career statistics


As of 1 August 2015[70][71][72]
Season Club League Cup Continental Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2000Flamengo 197--811334011
2001 53412081195
2001–02Inter Milan 811050--141
2001–02Fiorentina 156------156
2002–03Parma 28151022--3117
2003–04 982021--139
2003–04Inter Milan 16923----1812
2004–05 301632910--4228
2005–06 301350116104719
2006–07 235313010306
2007–08 41------41
2008São Paulo ----10619112917
2008–09Inter Milan 1233272--227
2009Flamengo 3019------3019
2010 20--7412112115
2010–11Roma 5010101080
2011Corinthians 41------41
2012 ------3131
2014Atlético Paranaense 10--31--41
2016Miami United 00--001111
Career total 24110725970335928405177
  • Other – State League & Super Cup


Sources[73] [74] [75] [76] [77]
Brazil national team
Year Apps Goals
2000 1 0
2001 0 0
2002 0 0
2003 6 3
2004 11 9
2005 12 10
2006 6 3
2007 1 0
2008 6 2
2009 4 0
2010 1 0





  • Copa dos Campeões: 2001
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 2009

Inter Milan

  • Italian Serie A: 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09
  • Coppa Italia: 2004–05, 2005–06
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2005, 2006, 2008


  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 2011



  • Copa América: 2004
  • FIFA Confederations Cup: 2005
Brazil Youth
  • FIFA U-17 World Cup: 1999
  • South American Youth Championship: 2001


  • South American U-20 Championship Golden Shoe: 2001[80]
  • FIFA World Youth Championship Silver Shoe: 2001[81]
  • Ballon d'Or: 2004 (6th place), 2005 (7th place)
  • FIFA World Player of the Year: 2004 (6th place), 2005 (5th place)
  • Pirata d'Oro (Internazionale Player of the Year): 2004[82]
  • Copa América Golden Ball: 2004
  • Copa América Golden Shoe: 2004
  • FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball: 2005[83]
  • FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Shoe: 2005[83]
  • IFFHS World's Top Goal Scorer: 2005[84]
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Team of the Year: 2009[85]
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A top goalscorer: 2009
  • Bola de Ouro: 2009
  • Bola de Prata: 2009


  1. Inter did not disclose the exact amount until they submitted an attached "Player identification table" into the 2008–09 statutory financial filing in CCIAA, which showed Adriano's value as €32.2 million and Dejan Stanković's as €6.165 million. According to old accounting standards, the €32.2 million consisted of €8.8 million the value of retained half, plus the bought back value actually paid to Parma, and other cost that could be capitalized (if any). Adriano plus Stanković matched the amount in Relazione sulla Gestione (Sports Report) of 2003–04 filing: €38,517,898, and the amount reported by La Repubblica for Adriano only (about €23 million).[13]


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