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Oct 29, 2008

Night on the town proves costly for Adriano

It seems that troubled Brazilian striker Adriano just can't control his inner party-animal and has once again landed himself in hot-water at Inter Milan for a breach of discipline.

Following the Nerazzurri's disappointing 0-0 draw with Genoa on Sunday, the 26-year-old foolishly went to a nightclub with fellow countryman Ronaldinho and stayed until the small hours of the morning, according to La Stampa.

And while AC Milan rival Ronaldinho wasn't required to attend training on Monday due to an injury, Adriano, who claims he only drank water all night, turned up late at Appiano Gentile and in no fit state to train.

Enraged Inter manager Jose Mourinho reportedly told the striker not to even bother putting his boots on and sent him home; where he received a phone call from sporting director Marco Branca informing him he had been dropped from the next matchday squad.

Although a contrite Adriano apologised to both coach and players for an earlier indiscretion this month (when he turned up late to a practice session), he has forced Mourinho to abandon the kid-gloves approach that seemed to be successfully rehabilitating the striker and adopt a no nonsense stance.

Last season Adriano was loaned to Campeonato Brasileiro side Sao Paulo for six months to regain his form and recover from self-confessed problems with depression and alcoholism that had wrecked his Inter Milan career under Mourinho's predecessor Roberto Mancini.

After returning to Milan Adriano seemed to be slowly getting back to the form that once made him one of the most feared strikers in the world. He scored in his first full 90 minutes under Mourinho and even won his place back in the Brazilian national team, but his latest misdemeanour is a huge step backwards.

The Corriere della Sera reported that Mourinho was so disappointed with Adriano's behaviour that the Portuguese coach told his wayward striker that he had "just lost a beautiful chance".

"Those who betray me need to do a lot to win back my respect," Mourinho said.

After getting tantalisingly close to restoring his reputation at Inter, it now seems a long way back for a striker who arrived in Serie A as a glittering starlet.

Adriano joined Internazionale from Flamengo as a 19-year-old in 2001 and his career went from strength to strength, culminating in an incredible 40 goals in all competitions during 2004/05; the world was at his feet.

But by the time the 2006 World Cup rolled around the Brazilian forward looked overweight, lumbering and uninterested. His pace, power, athleticism and rifle of a left foot had all diminished and the once great talent looked prematurely wasted.

The following season, Inter's lacklustre number ten scored a lowly five goals as the Nerazzurri won their first Scudetto since 1989 and in September 2007 he admitted to having a number of off-pitch problems and socialising with some undesirable characters.

The volatile striker was omitted from Roberto Mancini's Champions League squad and after a number of tantrums during and prior to Serie A matches - particularly when he stormed out of the stadium when he failed to make even the substitutes bench against Genoa in November - his Inter career spiralled.

The Brazilian slipped to fifth choice striker; behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hernan Crespo, David Suazo and Julio Cruz and, after skipping training, Mancini claimed he was no longer interested in what the out of form striker did and intimated that the rotund hit-man could leave the club.

At the time the media reported that a number of La Liga and Premier League clubs were willing to take a chance on his talent, despite a few extra pounds, but eventually Adriano returned to Brazil to try and rehabilitate himself during a loan deal with Sao Paolo.

Despite recovering some of his lost form Adriano was still dogged by the newspaper headlines that had so enraged Inter during his time in Milan and it wasn't long before he faced the sack from the Tricolor Paulista for missing training, continued alcohol problems and headbutting an opponent.

The womanising Brazilian also spent part of his sojourn convalescing with Carnival queen Viviane Castro, who was later kicked out of a parade for displaying 'exposed genitalia'. And while that wasn't strictly the fault of Adriano it was just another example of the negative press that continued to follow the beleaguered striker.

But with Mourinho's arrival at Inter Milan in the summer Adriano was handed a clean slate and an opportunity to impress the new boss; a chance he appeared to have taken.

The Brazilian's progress has now been brought to a shuddering halt and the striker was clearly emotional after his latest error and was visibly upset as he sped away from Inter's training ground. Adriano later confessed to team-mates: "I think I'll go back to Brazil."

But Adriano must not run away from his problems. He must have enough gumption to recognise he has made a mistake and find the fight to battle his way back into the manager's good books at Inter Milan.

Such is his talent their will be no shortage of top coaches willing to continue his rehabilitation if the striker can find the strength to put a stop to his indiscipline, however, remaining at Inter is his best option.

Under Mourinho he has made good progress and if he can keep out of trouble and prove his dedication he can rejuvenate himself under a strict manager who obviously recognises the striker's potential.

Running away to Brazil to bask in the adoration of his homeland may allow Adriano to escape the tough love that is needed to get him back on track, but ultimately it will hasten his decline.

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