Former Inter, Parma, Roma and Fiorentina striker Adriano discussed the depression that stalled his career and why at age 35 he wants to get back on the pitch.
The forward was known as ‘L’Imperatore’ and considered a future Ballon d’Or winner with everything it required to dominate the sport.
However, he never fully recovered from the shock of his father’s death to a heart attack in Brazil, when he was in Italy.
“After my father’s death, I was trapped in this tunnel of depression,” he told TV Globo.
“I couldn’t get out, for three or four months I was just a wreck. I had psychological support, all of Inter stood by me and the team tried to help, but it was much bigger and stronger than I could handle.
“I decided to go back to Brazil and in 2006 returned to Sao Paulo. Jose Mourinho wanted me back at Inter, but it wasn’t the same thing, I wasn’t as strong as before.
“I no longer had the mental strength to play abroad, as I wanted to be near to my family and I missed Brazil so much. So very much. It was only thanks to my family that I didn’t go down a very dark path.”
Adriano was so deeply troubled that he started drinking to excess, would disappear for days on end and his mother confessed she feared he’d commit suicide.
He has had brief spells at Flamengo, Roma, Corinthians, Atletico Paranaense and Miami United, but effectively retired in May 2016 when he left the American club without explanation.
“Although I wasn’t playing, I did keep in shape. I want to get back to training, even without a club. I want to do it for me, to prove I can overcome my limitations. It’s the only way to realise if I can still play or not.”