Adriano's troubled time at Inter Milan may be finally coming to an end after the Brazilian striker completed a string of petulant incidents by failing to turn up for training on Monday.
The volatile striker's already turbulent relationship with coach Roberto Mancini, who omitted L'Imperatore from his Champions League squad at the start of the season, worsened when Adriano reacted angrily to his substitution against Reggina in October and then left the Stadium before kick-off when he failed to make even the substitutes bench against Genoa in November.His latest indescretion completes a protracted fall from grace for the troubled 25-year-old, who was once one of the world's most feared strikers but is now troubled by personal problems that stem from his self-confessed partying, drinking and womanising.
Adriano joined Internazionale from Flamengo as a 19-year-old in 2001 as a glittering starlet whose career went from strength to strength, culminating in an incredible 40 goals in all competitions during 2004/05; the world was at his feet. But by the time the 2006 World Cup rolled around the Brazilian forward looked overweight, lumbering and uninterested. His pace, power, athleticism and rifle of a left foot had all diminished and the once great talent looked prematurely wasted.
The following season, Inter's lacklustre number ten scored a lowly five goals as the Nerazzurri won their first Scudetto since 1989 and in an interview with Sky Italia in September admitted having problems with depression and alcohol as well as socialising with some undesirable characters.However, after 'losing a-year-and-a-half' of his life the Brazilian claimed he had 'found happiness again' earlier this year but has struggled to keep his discipline on and off the pitch and has slipped to fifth choice striker; behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hernan Crespo, David Suazo and Julio Cruz. After Adriano skipped training this week Mancini claims he is no longer interested in what the out of form striker does and it would seem the best solution for both parties would be to part company. Adriano has undoubted talent, even if it is currently hidden beneath a few extra pounds, and according to the press he is not short of offers from clubs who wish to help him rediscover the form that made him one of the top strikers in world football. Italy's Tuttosport suggests that Adriano will make a sensational move across Milan to the Rossoneri where another former Inter striker and compatriot, Ronaldo, is undergoing rehabilitation. English broadsheet The Independent claim West Ham United are waiting in the wings with £12million swoop and Spanish newspaper Sport insists that Inter have offered Atletico Madrid a £12m-plus-Adriano swap deal for Argentine striking prodigy Sergio Aguero.
Arsenal's German goalkeeper Jens Problehmann (as Tuesday's Bild headline screamed) is causing trouble not only at Arsenal but also for German national team coach Joachim Loew.The 37-year-old made a string of errors for the Gunners and lost his place to Spaniard Manuel Almunia after suffering an Achillies injury and now Loew must decide if Lehmann will suffer the same fate for the Mannschaft. The controversial German was warned by Loew that if he failed to get his Arsenal place back by December he would not be going to Euro 2008 as first choice keeper. Having so far failed to reclaim his place at the Emirates Stadium Lehmann has resorted to vitriolic outbursts against his club manager and fellow Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia. The supremely self-confident stopper claimed he had been 'humiliated' by Arsene Wenger and told German TV station Premiere: 'Almunia hasn't shown that he can win us matches just yet. I have been through this situation once and know how the other keeper is situated mentally. I can't imagine he will handle this.' Legendary compatriot Franz Beckenbauer basically told Lehamnn to shut his mouth and now Loew has placated Lehmann by saying that if he maintains the level he showed for Germany in the 0-0 draw with Ireland in November he could yet remain as his first choice keeper. 'But no coach can give one of his players a guarantee he will be playing in a tournament which is eight months away,' Loew added. If Lehmann's long running feud with former German No.1 Oliver Kahn is anything to go by we can expect more verbal jousting over the next few months.
Real Madrid: culebrón del invierno
Real Madrid's outspoken coach Bernd Schuster recently likened his side to unrivalled tennis champion Roger Federer; in that his team didn't just win but toyed with their opponents before dispatching them.His seemingly arrogant comments received a barrage of criticism but the German silenced his detractors with a crushing 5-1 victory over Valencia. But how does the almighty one explain his sides 2-0 capitulation against Sevilla at the weekend? 'Do you know where the referee is from?' Schuster asked in his post match press conference. 'He is Catalan? Well, there is nothing more to say then.' Schuster was of course referring to the homeland of archrivals Barcelona and insinuating referee Alfonso Álvarez Izquierdo was biased due the regions historical opposition the Spanish establishment and their favourite club Royal Madrid. Barcelona's technical secretary Txiki Beguiristáin has called for an investigation to be launched into Schuster's comments, but given that Beguiristáin himself is from the Basque country Schuster is certain going to have something to say about that. The Referees' Technical Committee and the Catalan Football Federation have already complained and the incident is to be investigated by the National Antiviolence Commission, who fear the comments 'could generate violence and incite hatred towards different regions in Spain'. For the record, referee Álvarez Izquierdo is an Espanyol fan.