The residency in Rio de Janeiro of the striker Adriano, and his stay in a dangerous favela, generated concern among leaders and the press, who speculated that the soccer player has emotional or personal problems that he should resolve before returning to Italy.
'The Emperor' has not yet set a date for his return to Milan, where he is expected by Inter’s leaders and his coach, the Portuguese José Mourinho, who is concerned and baffled by the situation which his agent, Gilmar Rinaldi, described as a "serious” problem.
"Adriano has problems like everyone else. And he will resolve them before returning to Italy," said Rinaldi, who denied that Adriano had problems with drugs or links with drug traffickers, as reported in local media.
"If I had that kind of problem, I would not be safe in that area," he said.
Adriano, age 27, was cited for the matches that Brazil disputed last week with Ecuador (1-1) and Peru (3-0) in the South American playoffs, and should have traveled to Italy on Thursday to participate in Inter’s practice the next day. Surprisingly he did not, and stayed in Rio.
This Monday, after rumors of a possible kidnapping in the dangerous favela of the German Complex (north) by drug traffickers, the head of the Anti-Kidnapping Department of the Rio Civil Police, Marcus Reimao, said that this was not correct and confirmed that while Adriano did spend three days there, his visit was not linked to criminals.
'The Emperor,' who was born in this complex, went to visit childhood friends for support after a fight with his girlfriend, personal trainer Joana Machado, age 28, who left him after learning of an alleged party that the player gave before joining the selection of Brazil.
"He was very depressed and was with his friends, many of whom are known for being involved with drugs," Reimao told local media, but Rinaldi's assured them that the problem has “nothing to do with his girlfriend."
Even the Brazilian Confederation was forced to declare: "Adriano (...) is at home with his family in Rio de Janeiro." He pointed out that both the green-and-yellow DT Dunga and Inter leaders have "regular contact" with him.
This is the latest of various incidents caused by Adriano.
The previous was in January when, after spending Christmas and New Year in Brazil, he arrived in Milan a day after his contract required. In addition, he was relegated in the team for his conduct and was the target of the press several times for his late-night activities.
Inter’s discomfort with his lack of discipline and other problems could cost him extra football sanctions and fines, in addition to an eventual trade to another club.