The prolific Brazilian forward tells Dominique Antognoni that he is staying in Milan to win
World Soccer: So, Adriano, are you going to Real Madrid?
Adriano: No, not at all – I’m staying put at Inter, where it’s all going very well for me.
But you gave an interview recently in which you hinted at a move.
When I re-read in the newspapers the things I’d said, I was amazed – I realised I’d given the impression my suitcases were already packed. All I meant to say was how grateful I was towards [Real president Florentino] Perez for taking an interest in me.
I like Real very much – for a start, there’s Ronaldo, who has been a great pal of mine and who more than anyone helped me to settle here in Milan. But I’m still keen on Inter.
That’s what Ronaldo once said.
Yes, but he wanted a change, after so many years at Inter, and especially after two big injury layoffs. And Real had always been his big dream. But what would be my motivation to go there?
Easy – Real are Real, and then there’s Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Michael Owen, David Beckham, Raul…
And where could I fit in? Owen is already on the bench, as it is.
There is always room for a winner.
Well, I’ve nothing to say on that matter.
Your Inter career more or less began with a friendly against Madrid, on August 14, 2001.
I know, and I wasn’t even supposed to be in the side. But there had been so many injuries, and [Inter’s then coach Hector] Cuper took me along, even though I knew I was about to be loaned out. When I was sent on to the pitch, I knew I had
just 10 minutes to let people see who I was and what I was capable of. [He hit a spectacular winner from a free-kick.]
We hear stories you are bored of playing in a side who have no real prospect of becoming League champions.
No, that’s not true. I’ve been here one year [since returning to Inter from a loan spell at Parma], and we are in the last 16 of the Champions League. To me, it looks as though not even Real have a better chance of winning it. And let’s be clear about something that’s very important to me – my father died last summer, and I was badly affected by this. On my return to Milan, at the first training session, a huge banner had been put up by the fans, saying: “Adriano, your sadness is our sadness.” I asked if I could take it home with me. That banner means more to me than any scudetto ever could.
So you’ll be staying?
No doubt about it. For a long time, and I’ll win here, I just know it.
You mentioned your friendship with Ronaldo, how did that develop?
I found it incredible – every day I was having breakfast with the player I had admired for so long, since seeing him on the television, and who had been a role model for me. Then he helped me to find myself a great house – no easy thing in Milan, as there aren’t that many available.
What was the most important thing you learned from him?
Above all, to be humble.
*This is an excerpt from an interview with Adriano. The full interview appeared in the March 2005 issue of World Soccer. To subscribe to the magazine, click here