Corinthians, ex-Brazil striker Adriano part ways

BY foxsports • March 13, 2012

Corinthians announced Monday that Adriano's contract with the club has been terminated three months before it was due to expire.

The defending Brazilian champion said both parties agreed to the move, allowing the player to find another team. Adriano had been signed until the end of the Copa Libertadores in June.

The announcement came three days after coach Tite had criticized Adriano for his lack of dedication in practice.

The former Brazil striker had been released from the squad for the match against Guarani in the Sao Paulo state championship on Saturday and versus Mexico's Cruz Azul in the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday.

Adriano has played only a few matches this season due to fitness struggles since recovering from Achilles tendon surgery last year. He played only eight matches in 11 months with the club, scoring two goals.

A few weeks ago, Corinthians ordered Adriano to stay at the team's headquarters and stick to a strict diet to try to regain his best form. The team said at the time it was likely Adriano's last chance to try to show he was serious about getting back into the squad.

Adriano started three matches after that, including one in which he scored the winner. But Tite said this week that he was dissatisfied with the striker's training form and removed him from the squad. Corinthians drew 1-1 with Guarani at home two days ago.

''He is out of the team because he didn't practice the way we wanted him to practice,'' Tite said. ''He lacked intensity, quality and dedication. He didn't reach the level we wanted him to reach physically and technically.''

There had been local media reports that the coach and Adriano had an altercation about the player's weight, a claim that Tite publicly denied.

Adriano's weight had been a topic since he arrived last year.

He underwent surgery on his Achilles in April, only a few weeks after moving from AS Roma. He returned to action at the end of 2011, visibly out of shape, but scored a winner as a substitute in the final rounds of the Brazilian league, helping Corinthians move into a position to eventually win the title.

The former Inter Milan striker played for Brazil at the 2006 World Cup but missed the 2010 tournament in South Africa despite leading Flamengo to the national title in the previous year.

Adriano also made headlines for off-the-field problems in recent years. They included his involvement in a minor car accident, a public altercation with a girlfriend and a police investigation for alleged ties to drug lords in the shantytowns where he grew up - although he was never charged.

More recently, a woman riding in Adriano's car accused the player of shooting her in the hand. She later retracted her claim, saying the weapon went off accidentally while she was holding it.

Adriano quit Inter Milan in 2009, saying he was not happy in Italy and wanted to be closer to his friends. He missed several practice sessions with Flamengo in 2010, prompting a team director to publicly say that the player had a drinking problem.

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