Brazil and Inter legend Adriano was overcome with emotion after finding out about his induction into the Maracana Stadium Walk of Fame.
The Emperor’s achievements in the game will be commemorated – with the 39-year-old’s footprints to be moulded onto a plaque that will be placed outside the iconic stadium.
He joins fellow Selecao greats Ronaldinho, Pele, Romario, Zico and Garrincha in receiving the honour. Adriano, who scored 27 times in 48 appearances, burst into tears when he received the news.
He posted a series of pictures of his emotional reaction on Instagram, complete with the caption: “When I received the news of the fact I will put my foot in Maracana.
“Thank you for everything.”
Although there is the feeling that he never quite fulfilled his potential in the game, Adriano is a hugely popular former player and his rocket of a left foot is well-remembered by fans.
Further commenting on the news, he told reporters: “I’m super excited. This has always been my dream.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony in Rio de Janeiro will be delayed so that fans be in attendance for the official induction.
“The idea is to honor Adriano when the public can watch games at the Maracana,” Adriano Santos, president of the committee who chose Adriano, said.
“Because of Adriano’s strong affinity with fans of Flamengo and Brazil, it makes no sense for us to invite him now and do the ceremony without a crowd.”
In his prime, Adriano was truly unplayable and finished sixth and seventh in the Ballon d’Or rankings in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic told SPORTbible Adriano was “a pure animal” and that he had everything in his game.
However, persistent off the field problems and an unhealthy lifestyle culminated in a huge fall from grace for Adriano.
After the tragic death of his father, he turned to drugs and alcohol and the regular partying ultimately killed his potential and career.
“Only I know how much I suffered,” Adriano told R7 in Brazil.
“The death of my father left a huge hole. I felt alone and I isolated myself when he died. I was sad and depressed in Italy, and that was when I started to drink.
“I didn’t stop drinking and in the end I had to leave Inter.
“I didn’t know how to hide it, I arrived drunk in the morning for training sessions. I always showed up, even if I was completely drunk and the medical staff had to take me to sleep in the infirmary.
“Inter told the Press I just had muscular problems. I later realised that the problem was the people around me, friends who did nothing but take me to parties with women and alcohol, without thinking about anything.
“By going back to Brazil I gave up millions, but I gained happiness.”
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