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Brazilian striker Adriano was the heir to Ronaldo's throne but his career never took off in the way it should.
Injuries played a large part, but Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti revealed it was also a personal issue that affected his career.
The Emperor was due to be the next Ronaldo, a striker himself who showed just how great he was when it came to his talent but had been let down by his body on too many occasions.
Unfortunately it was the same for Adriano. The Brazilian had so much power in his left peg that Pro Evo decided to give him a 99 rating when it came to shot power, making it far too easy to score with him .
In his first two full seasons in Serie A he scored 32 goals in 53 games for Inter and Parma and followed that up with 29 goals in 60 games in his first full two seasons for Inter.
However, he would never recapture that form after injury and the death of his father.
San Siro legend, and former teammate of Adriano, Javier Zanetti explained just how much the family bereavement affected the striker, telling Tutto Mercato:
"When he had the phone call about the death of his father, we were in the room. He thumped the phone [back on the hook] and began screaming in a way that one can't imagine. It still shivers me today.
"From that day, Massimo Moratti and I treated him as a younger brother. He continued to play football, scoring and dedicating his goals to his father by pointing to the sky. But after that phone call, nothing was the same as before.
"We weren't able to pull him out of the tunnel of depression.
"That was my biggest defeat, I felt powerless."
:speaking_head:️ "We failed to pull him out of depression. That's the biggest defeat of my career. It still hurts. I was so powerless."- Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) August 31, 2018
- Javier Zanetti on Adriano. :broken_heart: pic.twitter.com/A02QoJjQYk
Right-back Zanetti also added just how good he and his teammates believed their striker would be, adding:
"When he scored that goal at Real Madrid, I said to myself that we'd found the new Ronaldo.
"...One night, Ivan Cordoba shared a room with him and told him he was a mix between Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and asked him if he was aware that he would become the world's best."
"He got a phone call from Brazil - 'Adri, dad is dead'- Betin Uganda (@BetinUganda) January 22, 2018
"I saw him in his room, he threw the phone and started screaming. You couldn't imagine that kind of scream. I get goosebumps even to this day.
"After that phone call nothing was the same.
- Zanetti on adriano pic.twitter.com/esG3dnuUp2
It is a great shame that Adriano could never shake his personal or physical problems, what would have meant him becoming one of the best players of his generation.
To those of us who remember him at his best Adriano will always be the Emperor.
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