Adriano to keep playing, returns to practice
SAO PAULO (AP) -- Former Brazil striker Adriano has returned to training with Flamengo.
The 30-year-old Adriano showed up at the club and joined his teammates on Tuesday, a day after he received his third warning for missing a training session and said he had doubts about whether he wanted to keep playing football professionally.
There was speculation Adriano might announce his retirement on Tuesday, but he talked to relatives and close friends overnight and decided that he will give another shot at his career.
Flamengo said it accepted the player's return after he said he will comply with the team's conditions, including one that requires him to receive psychological treatment. The club said Adriano will only receive his full salary if he stays on track from now on.
He arrived on Tuesday and went straight to work on his physical conditioning. Adriano hasn't played in more than six months because of surgery on his left Achilles. The club expected him to start practicing with the rest of the players on Monday, but the missed training on Saturday and his indecision about keep playing changed the timetable on his return.
Flamengo club director Zinho said that Adriano will not get back on the field until the club feels he is ready physically and mentally. The official, a former Flamengo and Brazil player, had said Monday that he had concerns about what could happen to Adriano if he had decided to stop playing.
The talented striker's career has been marked by off-the-field problems and he made headlines in the past for an alleged drinking problem revealed by a club director, a public altercation with a girlfriend and a police investigation for alleged ties to drug lords in the shantytown where he grew up - although he was never charged.
Zinho said that Adriano told him that he was "confused'' and didn't know if he could perform at a high level again because of "personal problems.''
Flamengo took a chance on signing Adriano in August even though there were questions about his commitment after he was fired by Corinthians because he didn't take the recovery seriously.
Adriano had received his second warning just two weeks after signing with Flamengo for the third time in his career. He called a news conference at the time and apologized to fans, his teammates and the club, saying he would not make mistakes again. He said he knew Flamengo could end his contract if he didn't stay on track.
Flamengo signed Adriano on a productivity contract until the end of the year, meaning the striker won't get paid his full salary unless he plays regularly.
Adriano began his career with Flamengo and played for Inter Milan and Roma, among other clubs.
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.
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.