Adriano: Brother, it’s simple. I have a hole in my ankle, and one in my soul

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 12. svibnja 2021.

Adriano: Brother, it’s simple. I have a hole in my ankle, and one in my soul

One of the greatest 'what if' stories is that of Adriano, the former Inter and Brazil striker. The man who was quickly known as the Imperator had a quick and hard downfall as his personal problems influenced his game strongly.

The 39-year-old is still an Inter fan, the club for which he scored 74 goals in 177 games alongside 27.

"Still, to this day, Inter is my club. I love Flamengo, S?o Paulo, Corinthians... I love many of the places I have played, but Inter is something special for me. The Italian press? O.K., that’s another story. Hahahaha. But Inter the club? The best, man," started Adriano.

After playing for Parma and Inter, The Brazilian quickly gained one of the best nicknames in football - the Imperator.

“Damn, man. A favela guy like me? I’m the Emperor of Italy? I had not even done much yet, and everyone was treating me like a king. It was crazy. I remember my family all coming over from Rio to visit me, and when I say my family, you don’t understand what I mean, bro. I mean my family. Brazilian style. I’m not talking about just mom and dad, I’m talking about 44 people, man! Cousins! Aunts! Uncles! My boys! The whole neighbourhood got on that airplane."

Adriano continued his story and explained why Inter remains his favourite club.

"So the news got to the club president, Mr Moratti (the legend!!) And Mr Moratti said, “Hey, this is a special moment for the kid. Let’s get a bus for his family. Moratti had his people secure a whole tour bus for them. Can you imagine, 44 Brazilians on tour in Italy? Hahaha! It was a scene, bro. It was party time. This is the reason why I will never say a bad word about Mr Moratti, or about Inter. Every club should be run like that. He cared about me as a person."

On July 25, 2004, he scored when Brazil beat Argentina in the Copa America Final. On August 4, his father died of a heart attack. Which affected him heavily. Yet in the following season he had his best tally in Serie A with 16 goals. In 2005/2006 Adriano scored 13 league goals, the following year he played 23 games and got five. In the 2007/2008 he hit the floor entirely.

"You know, sometimes I think I am one of the most misunderstood footballers on the planet. People don’t really understand what happened to me. They have the story all wrong. It’s very simple, honestly. In the span of nine days, I went from the happiest day of my life, to the worst day of my life. I went from heaven to hell. For real."

Gradually, Adriano lost the motivation to play football.

"I don’t really want to talk about it, but I will tell you that after that day, my love for football was never the same. He loved the game, so I loved the game. It was that simple. It was my destiny. When I played football, I played for my family. When I scored, I scored for my family. So when my father died, football was never the same. I was across the ocean in Italy, away from my family, and I just couldn’t cope with it. I got so depressed, man. I started drinking a lot. I didn’t really want to train. It had nothing to do with Inter. I just wanted to go home."

In the end, Adriano put a full stop at his story with a poetic view of it.

"Not all injuries are physical, you understand? When I popped my Achilles in 2011? Man, I knew that’s when it was over for me, physically. You can get surgery and rehabilitate it and try to carry on, but you will never be the same. My explosiveness was gone. My balance was gone. I still walk with a limp. I still have a hole in my ankle. It was the same thing when my father died. Except the scar was inside me. Brother, it’s simple. I have a hole in my ankle, and one in my soul."


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