Adriano: ‘I have a hole in my soul’

Adriano explains in his own words why Inter will always be ‘something special’ for him, especially Massimo Moratti, and why his career went off the rails after a family tragedy. ‘I have a hole in my ankle and one in my soul.’

The Brazilian, known as L’Imperatore, told his story for The Players Tribune and his love for Inter is undiminished by the years.

“Still, to this day, Inter is my club. I love Flamengo, São Paulo, Corinthians… I love many of the places I have played, but Inter is something special for me,” he said.

“The Italian press? O.K., that’s another story. Hahahaha. But Inter the club? The best, man. 

“Damn, man. A favela guy like me? I’m the Emperor of Italy? I had not even done much yet, and everyone was treating me like a king. It was crazy. I remember my family all coming over from Rio to visit me, and when I say my family, you don’t understand what I mean, bro. I mean my family. Brazilian style. I’m not talking about just mom and dad, I’m talking about 44 people, man! Cousins! Aunts! Uncles! My boys! The whole neighborhood got on that airplane.

“So the news got to the club president, Mr. Moratti (the legend!!) And Mr. Moratti said, “Hey, this is a special moment for the kid. Let’s get a bus for his family.” Moratti had his people secure a whole tour bus for them. Can you imagine, 44 Brazilians on tour in Italy? Hahaha! It was a scene, bro. It was party time. 

“This is the reason why I will never say a bad word about Mr. Moratti, or about Inter. Every club should be run like that. He cared about me as a person.”

At the height of Adriano’s fame and when his career was truly taking off to seemingly become one of the all-time greats, his father suddenly passed away in Brazil.

“You know, sometimes I think I am one of the most misunderstood footballers on the planet. People don’t really understand what happened to me. They have the story all wrong. It’s very simple, honestly.

“In the span of nine days, I went from the happiest day of my life, to the worst day of my life. I went from Heaven to Hell. For real.”

On July 25, 2004, he scored when Brazil beat Argentina in the Copa America Final. On August 4, his father died of a heart attack.

“I don’t really want to talk about it, but I will tell you that after that day, my love for football was never the same. He loved the game, so I loved the game. It was that simple. It was my destiny. When I played football, I played for my family. When I scored, I scored for my family. So when my father died, football was never the same. 

“I was across the ocean in Italy, away from my family, and I just couldn’t cope with it. I got so depressed, man. I started drinking a lot. I didn’t really want to train. It had nothing to do with Inter. I just wanted to go home. 

“Not all injuries are physical, you understand? When I popped my Achilles in 2011? Man, I knew that’s when it was over for me, physically. You can get surgery and rehabilitate it and try to carry on, but you will never be the same. My explosiveness was gone. My balance was gone. I still walk with a limp. I still have a hole in my ankle. 

“It was the same thing when my father died. Except the scar was inside me. Brother, it’s simple. I have a hole in my ankle, and one in my soul.”

Adriano thanks Moratti for accepting without any protest that a return to Brazil was the best thing for him, giving the young man all the time and space he needed to heal himself.

He also denies that he was ever on drugs, although does confess his drinking was out of control.

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Gravina opens ‘dialogue’ with Juventus

Federation President Gabriele Gravina is confident ‘we can overcome’ the obstacles surrounding the Super League and Juventus. ‘I have to protect the competition, not individual clubs.’

It comes after a warning that if Juve continue to sign up to the Super League project along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, and take legal action against UEFA or the other clubs who pulled out, then they could be excluded from Serie A as well as any UEFA tournament.

“Of course I spoke to Andrea Agnelli, it’s my duty to seek out dialogue and find solutions,” FIGC President Gravina told news agency Ansa.

“Aside from the choices he will take, I feel that we have what it takes to overcome the positions that are currently distant.”

He also reiterated that Juventus cannot try to transform the existing Calcio landscape.

“I have to protect the competition, not the individual clubs. The rules exist regardless of the economic power of the clubs or the size of their fanbase.”

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Marotta: ‘Super League issue archived’

Inter CEO Beppe Marotta assures everyone involved in the Lega Serie A meeting has ‘archived’ the Super League and is working together to find ‘a model of general sustainability.’

Juventus, Milan and Inter were three of the 12 clubs who signed up to the Super League project, only for nine to pull out within 48 hours.

Only Juve, Real Madrid and Barcelona remain, although today’s Lega Serie A meeting seems to have worked on the Bianconeri too.

“We discussed various themes in a cordial climate and the atmosphere is positive,” insisted Marotta to reporters as he left the meeting this afternoon.

“Many expressed the desire to work together in order to find a model of general sustainability that suits everyone, looking forward to a future that right now is difficult.

“The Super League issue has been archived. It is no longer something that needs to be considered.”

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Skriniar wants to stay at Inter

Inter defender Milan Skriniar said he will stay at the Nerazzurri and help defend the Scudetto in 2021-22.

Skriniar was linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur last summer, but the 26-year-old stayed at San Siro and has played an important role in 2020-21.

After Inter picked up their 19th Scudetto this term, Skriniar expects the rumours of his future to continue this summer.

“There have been rumours, there are and there will be,” Skriniar told Sport Aktuality. “However, I have never listened to or commented them.

“Of course, it will be no different after this season.”

The Slovakia international played 30 Serie A games after having started the season quarantined in his homeland.

The defender’s contract with the Beneamata expires in June 2023 and he is certain he will remain at the club beyond the next transfer market.

“I want to enjoy this great feeling now, then I want to finish the season and prepare for the European Championship,” he said.

“If I will defend the title with the Inter shirt next year? Yes, of course.”

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Inter vs. Roma: Conte’s 100th game with the Nerazzurri

Inter vs. Roma: Conte’s 100th game with the Nerazzurri

Inter coach Antonio Conte prepares for his 100th game in charge of the Nerazzurri and could pick up his 63rd win against Roma this week.

Il Corriere dello Sport highlights the Beneamata coach has picked up 62 wins in his first 99 games with Inter and aims to finish the season at 94 points.

A win over Paulo Fonseca’s Roma this week would thus be the 15th consecutive triumph at the Giuseppe Meazza.

Inter picked up the 19th Scudetto in the club’s history with four games remaining but the coach can’t reach Roberto Mancini’s historic 2006-07 season.

The Italy CT’s Inter picked up 97 points but closing at 94 points would leave Conte at second in the club’s history.

But Conte already overcame Mancini’s record during his time with Juventus, when he picked up 102 points in 2013-14, finishing 17 points ahead of second-placed Roma.

In the first 99 games with the Beneamata, Conte has an average of 2.11 points per game.

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Ranocchia: ‘Going out with style’

Andrea Ranocchia joked he ‘went out with style’ from Inter’s 5-1 win against Sampdoria, as his teammates dropped him from a stretcher.

The defender had a rare start in this evening’s victory at San Siro.

They celebrated their Scudetto after the final whistle, singing and chanting in the centre-circle.

It then got playful, Ranocchia getting on the stretcher and having a lie down with his hands behind his head.

So teammates Alessandro Bastoni and Danilo D’Ambrosio decided to shrug him off the stretcher for an acrobatic fall.

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Muriel hints at Atalanta stay

Luis Muriel says this is the best season of his career and suggests he will stay at Atalanta next season.

The Colombian came off the bench and scored a brace in La Dea’s 5-2 win over Parma.

He has 21 goals in 33 appearances across all competitions this season.

“I’ve often started from the bench since I arrived here, but now a few games are remaining and I can still improve,” the former Sevilla man told Sky Sport Italia.

“We always remained focused, we have played many games this season and even if the last two didn’t go well for me, there is always time to do well.

“Today’s game was not easy, there was a lot of pressure, but we remained focused, and we took three important points home.”

The 30-year-old has been linked with a move to Inter, but he suggested he wants to stay at Atalanta.

“I think we dropped a few points this season, we could have been closer to the first place,” he said.

“We can fight against the bigger clubs, we want to stay up there in the future.

“Our coach is very ambitious, he always wants more from us. We want to continue here, we want to bring Atalanta up there. This is the best season of my career, I want to continue and do well.”

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Barcelona to receive Vidal bonus

Barcelona will receive a €1m bonus from Inter as part of the agreement for the transfer of Arturo Vidal and the Chile international will get an automatic pay rise.

The Chile international joined the Nerazzurri as a free agent last summer.

The agreement came with a set of bonuses based on the player’s performances and the club’s results.

According to Calciomercato.com, the Serie A side will pay Barcelona a €1m bonus after winning the 19th title in their history, the first one in over a decade.

José Mourinho had been the last coach to win the title in the 2009-10 campaign.

Vidal signed a €5m-a-year deal with Inter, but according to a previous La Gazzetta dello Sport report, his salary will increase to €6.5m-a-year in 2021-22.

According to reports in Italy, the former Juventus and Bayern Munich star is one of the players who could leave the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza at the end of the season as Steven Zhang has warned the club to cut costs.

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Juve, Madrid and Barca reject ‘intolerable threats’

Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona released a joint statement slamming ‘unacceptable pressures, threats and offences’ to abandon the Super League project, turning on the nine clubs that signed a deal with UEFA.

As reported earlier today by the New York Times, these three are refusing to let go of the Super League project and will not only take legal action against UEFA, but also the nine sides that backed out – Milan, Inter, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Atletico Madrid.

The three remaining giants released a joint statement this morning regarding the situation.

“In relation to the statement released by UEFA on the 7th May in respect of the Super League and the position taken by 9 of its founding clubs, Fútbol Club Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid Club de Fútbol state the following:

(i) The founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offenses to abandon the project and therefore desist from their right and duty to provide solutions to the football ecosystem via concrete proposals and constructive dialogue. This is intolerable under the rule of law and Tribunals have already ruled in favour of the Super League proposal, ordering FIFA and UEFA to, either directly or through their affiliated bodies, refrain from taking any action which may hinder this initiative in any way while court proceedings are pending.

(ii) The Super League project was designed jointly by its 12 founding clubs:

a) with the aim of providing solutions to the current unsustainable situation in the football industry. The 12 founding clubs shared the same concerns -as other stakeholders in European football do-, particularly under the current socio-economic context, that structural reforms are indispensable to ensure our sport stays appealing and survives in the long-term. To that effect, on 18th April, they announced their willingness to create the Super League and establish a channel of communication with UEFA and FIFA, in a constructive spirit of collaboration between the parties, as it was so notified to each of them on such date;

b) with the utmost respect for the current football structures and ecosystem. The founding clubs expressly agreed that the Super League would only take place if such a competition was recognised by UEFA and/or FIFA or if, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, it was deemed to be a competition duly compatible for all purposes with the continuity of the founding clubs in their respective domestic competitions. However, despite being aware of the above terms, UEFA and FIFA have so far refused to establish any adequate channel of communication; and

c) to bring financial stability to the entire European football family, currently under the effects of a deep crisis that threatens the survival of many clubs. Testament of it, the announced commitment to establish annual solidarity payments for guaranteed annual amounts that materially multiply those distributed by UEFA, and the obligation to reinforce financial sustainability rules, through the creation of a clear, transparent and effective control system verified by experts.

(iii) The 12 founding clubs also acknowledged that the Super League was a unique opportunity to offer fans around the world the best possible show and to reinforce global interest in the sport, which is not a “given” and is challenged by new generational trends. Moreover, one of its main objectives was to promote women’s football on a global level, a tremendous, but currently underestimated, opportunity for the sector. 

(iv) We are fully aware of the diversity of reactions to the Super League initiative and, consequently, of the need to reflect on the reasons for some of them. We are ready to reconsider the proposed approach, as necessary. However, we would be highly irresponsible if, being aware of the needs and systemic crisis in the football sector, which led us to announce the Super League, we abandoned such mission to provide effective and sustainable answers to the existential questions that threaten the football industry.

(v) We regret to see that our friends and founding partners of the Super League project have now found themselves in such inconsistent and contradictory position when signing a number of commitments to UEFA yesterday. However, given that the material issues that led the 12 founding clubs to announce the Super League weeks ago have not gone away, we reiterate that, to honour our history, to comply with our obligations towards our stakeholders  and fans, for the good of football and for the financial sustainability of the sector, we have the duty to act in a responsible manner and persevere in the pursuit of adequate solutions, despite the unacceptable and ongoing pressures and threats received from UEFA.

(vi) Mostly, we reiterate to FIFA, UEFA and all football stakeholders, as we have done on several occasions since the announcement of the Super League, our commitment and firm will to discuss, with respect and without intolerable pressure and in accordance with the rule of law, the most appropriate solutions for the sustainability of the whole football family.”

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Inter stars and staff refuse pay cuts?

There are reports that Inter players have refused President Steven Zhang’s request to cut their wages, with even Antonio Conte and Beppe Marotta considering their future.

The Nerazzurri celebrated their Serie A title victory under a week ago, but the mood was brought right back down to earth when President Zhang outlined the extent of their financial issues.

He asked everyone from players to coach and staff to accept pay cuts in order to help the club move through the current financial climate.

It’s reported this would include giving up one month’s salary entirely and foregoing the Scudetto bonuses.

The Corriere dello Sport now suggests the players all refused, with some even reacting angrily to the request.

The same newspaper even maintains that coach Conte and directors Marotta and Piero Ausilio aren’t convinced by the situation either.

If they were to walk away, the Inter project would effectively have to start from scratch.

Conte and the two directors are under contract with Inter until June 2022.

Suning continue to seek new investors and in the meantime have restructured their financing to keep the club going, but have asked for big sacrifices from their players.

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