Adriano is a former football player you should be well aware that we are big fans of here at Balls.ie. Whether it is the numerous tributes we've done to his digital representation in Pro Evolution Soccer, or the brief period of time where he was arguably the most dominant striker in the world, he made a lasting impression on a generation of football fans.
As it turns out, he also had a big impact on his teammates, as two players who will unquestionably be remembered of legends - Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Javier Zanetti, who played with the Brazilian at Inter - have recently taken time out to express their regret at Adriano's inability to grow his career to what it could have been.
Speaking to Sport Bible at the launch of his new mobile game, Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed that the first thing he did when he signed for Inter was demand that the president did not sell Adriano because he wanted to play alongside him instead of against him.
I mean I played with great champions. I played with players that already were 'WOW', I played with players that I saw were a talent and then became 'WOW', but the one I felt could do it longer, and he didn't do it, was Adriano when I was at Inter.
When I came to Inter, the first thing I said to the president was, I demanded him to stay because he was the player I wanted to play with. Because, the way he was, he was an animal.
He could shoot from every angle, nobody could tackle him, nobody could take the ball, he was a pure animal. But it lasted for a short time.
I don't know why, like I said, 50% of everything you do is the mental part. If you don't have it in your head, it's difficult. In his case, I enjoyed playing with him, playing against him, but it's a shame that it lasted such a short time.
These quotes go in line with what Zanetti said while speaking to Tuttomercatoweb earlier in the month, although the legendary full-back gave a much more intimate and personal response to Adriano's fall from grace.
Zanetti pinpointed the moment it all went wrong for Adriano following the death of his father, and claimed that seeing such a talented player fall into depression was the biggest defeat of his career.
When he scored that goal at Real Madrid, I said to myself that we’d found the new Ronaldo.
But he came from the favelas, which frightened me because I saw how dangerous it was there, and when you become rich from nothing, everything becomes more insidious.
When he had the phone call about the death of his father, we were in the room. He thumped the phone and began screaming in a way that one can’t imagine. It still shivers me today. From that day, Massimo Moratti and I treated him as a younger brother.
He continued to play football, scoring and dedicating his goals to his father by pointing to the sky. But after that phone call, nothing was the same as before.
One night, Ivan Cordoba shared a room with him and told him he was a mix between Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and asked him if he was aware that he would become the world’s best.
We weren’t able to pull him out of the tunnel of depression. That was my biggest defeat, I felt powerless.
Powerful stuff from Zanetti, who seems like an incredible captain to have played for despite not being able to help Adriano in that case.
There is no telling what he could have gone on to achieve had he been able to stay focused on football, but the loss of his father really impacted his priorities and he was never able to recapture that terrifying form.
A truly sad story, thankfully Adriano is still remembered as a hero at Inter, and seems to be doing much better in terms of his personal life after struggling following his immediate retirement.