Adriano joins Atletico Paranaense in comeback bid
SAO PAULO (AP) — Former Brazil striker Adriano is trying to make another comeback to football by joining Atletico Paranaense to play in this year’s Copa Libertadores.
Adriano hasn’t played since March 2012, but had been training with Atletico since December to try to get in shape and earn a contract with the club in southern Brazil.
“I’m very happy to sign the contract with Atletico Paranaense,” he said Tuesday. “It’s very gratifying, especially after so much hard work and dedication during this period that I practiced with the team. Today I’m getting an opportunity to return to football with Atletico.”
The 31-year-old striker, known for off-the-field problems throughout his career, was released by Corinthians in 2012 for allegedly not committing to a recovery process after Achilles surgery on his left leg. He signed for Flamengo later that year, but left without playing a single match after repeated absences from training and team activities.
Atletico Paranaense advanced to the group stage of the Copa Libertadores by beating Sporting Cristal of Peru on penalties last week and Adriano is expected to be added to the squad for the rest of the Latin American club competition.
“It’s the only title that I haven’t won and I want to help Atletico win it,” he said. “I want to gain more rhythm and wait for an opportunity to begin entering the matches and eventually fight my way into a starting position.”
Adriano began his career with Flamengo and played for Inter Milan and AS Roma, among other clubs. He won four Serie A titles with Inter Milan. With Brazil, he won the 2004 Copa America and the 2005 Confederations Cup.
He was in the starting lineup for Brazil at the 2006 World Cup, when the team was eliminated in the quarterfinals. Adriano was touted to make the team in 2010 in South Africa after leading Flamengo to the national title a year earlier, but was not included in the final squad. His last match with Brazil was in 2010.
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