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Defoe can be Sunderland's saviour

Sunderland
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By ESPN Staff

Flamengo say Adriano will play for them

Flamengo have reached an agreement to sign troubled striker Adriano, less than a month after the former Inter Milan player said he had lost his appetite for the game.

Adriano's agent, however, said no deal had been reached.

Club president Delair Dumbrosck told Reuters: "He is 99 per cent a Flamengo player. We have to look for a partner to help with the budget.

"Adriano knows about everything, so does his agent, and we are awaiting his presence at Gavea (the club's headquarters)."

Last Friday, Inter terminated Adriano's contract by mutual agreement with the 27-year-old player after he decided not to return to Italy following Brazil's World Cup qualifiers.

Dumbrosck said Flamengo, Brazil's most popular club, would pay Adriano's wages and would build a marketing project around him.

However, Adriano's agent, former Flamengo goalkeeper Gilmar Rinaldi, said: "We've only had a meeting. They can say what they want but there are still some steps which need to be taken."

Between 2004 and 2006, the powerfully-built Adriano was regarded as one of the world's top players.

However, since a disappointing performance at the 2006 World Cup he has been plagued by fitness and alcohol problems.

Earlier this month, Adriano, who began his career with Flamengo, failed to return to Inter because of what he said was a private matter.

After spending several days in the Vila Cruzeiro favela where he was raised, Adriano said he had lost the pleasure of playing and did not want to return to Italy, adding that he would stay in Brazil to rethink his career.

Last year, Flamengo were widely expected to sign Ronaldo, who used the club's facilities for his rehabilitation after suffering a serious knee injury.

Instead, Ronaldo signed for Corinthians, to the anger of Flamengo supporters, and has since scored eight goals in 10 games.

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