Latin America

Flamengo director: Adriano has a drinking problem

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A Flamengo club director said Sunday that Brazil striker Adriano has a drinking problem.

Marcos Braz told a local radio station the reason Adriano is temporarily out of the team is because he began drinking again following a personal problem.

"When he starts drinking, he can't stop," Braz told Radio Bandeirantes. "He had overcome this, but it started again because of this personal situation he is going through."

The Brazil forward did not show up for training Friday and local media widely reported that he got into an altercation with his girlfriend at a party in a shantytown.

Braz strongly denied speculation the player was involved with drugs.

"To say that Adriano has a drug problem is a tremendous absurdity," Braz said. "Alcohol is a drug, but it's different."

Adriano was released from the club for three days and was dismissed from the team's Copa Libertadores match against Caracas on Wednesday in Venezuela. He was expected to return to training on Monday.

He missed the team's 4-0 win over Resende on Saturday. Coach Andrade said he wanted the striker to play on Wednesday, but said the decision to keep him from playing came "from the top."

Adriano traveled to London with Brazil's national side for its 2-0 win over Ireland in a friendly on Tuesday and is set to make the squad for the World Cup in South Africa which begins June 11.

The 28-year-old player abandoned Inter Milan last April, saying he was not happy in Italy and wanted to be closer to his friends, many who grew up with him in a Rio shantytown.

There were widespread reports in local media that Adriano was depressed at the time, and although he admited he was going through a difficult time, he denied he had a drinking problem.

Since then, he has starred for his hometown team, leading it to the national championship last year.

Adriano several times missed practice with Flamengo for personal reasons, but as the team's biggest star, most of the time he escaped any punishment.

When Adriano played for Sao Paulo in 2007, he was fined for arriving late for training and twice was involved in minor car accidents. He also was photographed drinking with friends at a party just hours after signing with the Brazilian club, and later received a two-match suspension for head-butting another player during a game.

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