Thursday 16 April ~

When a young boy is growing up, he has decisions to make. What does the future hold for him? What does he aspire to be? An astronaut? Builder? Doctor? Mechanic? These are not very popular choices and they are often made without truly thinking about it logically, but being a professional footballer is a very appealing future employment. It is strange then to hear the case of the Inter and Brazil striker Adriano who, at the ripe old age of 27, is “taking a break from football to consider his options”.

Come again? It's not everyone that has the ability to command over £100,000 a week in wages, lead an opulent lifestyle and play football professionally. Most players who retire will have a reason for doing so, but Adriano doesn't seem to have one. Past problems have been dealt with and he was starting to play regular football for club and country again. But this came as a bolt out of the blue, and he could lose it all as a consequence, with Inter preparing to cancel his contract.

One of the best known cases like this involved George Connelly, a utility player at Celtic in the 1970s. Connelly was on the verge of making the Scotland squad for the 1974 World Cup, before he fatally decided to walk out on the team when they were boarding a plane for Switzerland, allegedly worried about his wife who was expecting their first child. He then went missing from training with Celtic five months later and was taken off the payroll – he never played professionally again, though his actions were never fully explained. Jock Stein, then manager of Celtic, described Connelly as “a complex character”, words that have also been used, alongside less polite ones, to describe Adriano.

An even more surreal case is that of Peter Knowles, formerly of Wolverhampton Wanderers and a regular member of the England Under-23 squad. Knowles, like Connelly, was on the verge of making the full national squad, before he retired to become a Jehovah's Witness at the age of 24. Knowles explained his career change by saying that he believed that he might one day seriously injure an opponent and couldn't have that on his conscience.

It might be that Adriano feels that there is a spiritual void at the centre of the millionaire lifestyle and wants to get back to a simple life. It's more likely that he is behaving like an attention-seeking brat. Sam Inkersole

Comments (11)
Comment by CarsmileSteve 2009-04-16 15:34:45

That seems rather unfair. Everything i've seen about this story screams Actual Mental Health Issues, with which footballers are as likely to be affected by as anyone else (ie really quite likely). Calling him a "brat" for suffering what could well be a breakdown is vastly insensitive if you've ever known anyone that it has happened to, all the money in the world or the job you've dreamed about for 20 years wouldn't make a blind bit of difference...

Comment by fbrazolin 2009-04-16 17:09:26

Unfair and rather prejudicial.

Not considering the importance of the major loss of Adriano's father in 2004 was a huge mistake in this article. Also, the player's behavior during some years state that, despite all the money in the world, he's clearly suffering from some kind of mental issue.

Last year, while trying to find his good playing again in Sao Paulo F.C. in Brazil, Adriano was more than once involved in extra-field problems, even fighting with fellow players. Not to mention the series of alcohol-related issues we heard of.

Personally, I believe that he made the correct decision. It's better to leave everything behind than to maintain a low-profile career, similar to what Ronaldinho Gaúcho is doing for at least the past two years. Fortunatelly he has enough money to make this decision.

Comment by Ronny Delgado 2009-04-16 17:14:08

The world of football is fascinating enough to dream about and follow as an innocent bystander, but actually belonging to it, I believe, is a different matter when you are handicapped with a decent IQ.

Comment by paterson.ra 2009-04-16 18:31:03

Have to agree with CarsmileSteve. Adriano needs help.

Comment by godot 2009-04-16 23:56:58

Talent is not all that is needed to be a good or great footballer as the long list of duds, could've-beens, alcoholics and the like show.

If Adriano wishes to extract himself from a sport in which mental growth and stability is often intentionally retarded before it's too late, he's a lot smarter than some of the non-"attention-seeking brats" who end looking back at two decades of their lives with a lot of pathos and regret regardless of how much they may have made or won.

Comment by The Exploding Vole 2009-04-17 12:39:08

Whatever happened to Peter Knowles? Is he still knocking on doors?

Comment by Jon 2009-04-17 16:32:45

He works in the loading bay at Wolverhampton Marks and Spencer.

Comment by Admin5 2009-04-21 10:05:17


Please refrain from personal comments. If you disagree with a point made in an article then justify it, but don't resort to insults. Thanks.

Comment by Jimafc 2009-04-22 01:17:28


I didn't make personal "comments" (by which I asume you mean insults) and I did justify my disagreement with the thrust of the article i.e. that it was simplistic in its "analysis" of Adriano's situation. I admit I then made a general comment about the similarly low quality of several other recent articles (several of which I've also commented on)(and to which you can add that very poor piece about Gascoigne's attempts to get his life in order) and questioned WSC's quality control but that surely doesn't warrent censure.



Comment by Admin5 2009-04-22 10:10:03

Sorry Jim. Your previous comment was deleted in error due to technical issues when we were removing another comment. I hope you continue to, er, enjoy WSC.

Comment by Jimafc 2009-04-23 14:07:47

Sound enough. Cheers Admin5. Rest assured - I've enjoyed WSC for 20 odd years off and on (but I do like a good moan now and then...)(and any chance of a bigger discount on overseas subscriptions - we really need a half decent football magazine down here in Oz)


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