Flamengo warns Adriano after missed practice
SAO PAULO (AP) -Flamengo formally warned Adriano on Tuesday after the striker missed practice only two weeks into his new contract with the Brazilian club, failing in his pledge to behave off the field and take his recovery from injury seriously.
Flamengo said the club could terminate Adriano's contract if he misses another session or breaks another team rule, which could effectively put an end to the striker's career.
The former Brazil star apologized to the club, teammates and fans, saying he is only hurting himself by making such mistakes.
"I didn't show up for practice and I'll be punished according to my contract,'' he said. "I'm not hurting anybody but myself. I'll be punished and I'll do everything I can to keep this from happening again.''
The 30-year-old Adriano said he may end his career if he is not able to stay on track this time.
"I had said when I arrived that I would only have this one chance,'' he said. "I have to stop missing practices or my contract will be terminated.''
Club director Zinho, a former Flamengo and Brazil player, said Adriano was warned verbally and in writing.
"He hurts himself, but other people end up being affected too. This affects the club,'' said Zinho, a starter in the 1994 World Cup. "This was always a concern and that's why the club protected itself. I have only one feeling: sadness.''
Adriano was coming off several off-field problems which affected his performance in his recent clubs, so Flamengo conditioned his return to the number of matches he will be able to play. He was signed on Aug. 21 after doctors said he has fully recovered from Achilles surgery on his left leg.
"I haven't given up yet, but I'm really worried now,'' Zinho said. "This hurts our schedule which was to have him playing again at the end of the month. The club opened its doors for him and is giving him the proper conditions. The club trusts him, the fans trust him, but he has to do his part.''
Adriano hasn't played in more than six months, since being fired by Corinthians for allegedly not taking his recovery seriously. He first underwent Achilles surgery in 2011 but needed another surgical procedure earlier this year because the injury didn't heal properly.
It is the third time Adriano is playing for Flamengo. He was one of the team's top players when it won the Brazilian league title in 2009, finishing as the competition's leading scorer.
Despite his good performances, he missed several practice sessions at the time too, prompting a team director to publicly say that the player had a drinking problem.
He made headlines off the field for problems that 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.
Brazilian media reported that Adriano missed Monday's practice because he hosted a party at the shantytown. He did not deny that he was at the shantytown, where he still has many childhood friends.
The powerful striker was a 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 but was not included in the final squad.
Follow Tales Azzoni at http://twitter.com/tazzoni