Adriano says he won't play again until next year
SAO PAULO (AP) -- Former Brazil star Adriano said Monday he won't return to practice with Flamengo this season and will not play again until next year.
Adriano made the announcement after widespread reports he would be fired by Flamengo for missing another training session at the weekend. The club had repeatedly warned Adriano after he missed several team activities since signing with the club on a pay-as-you-play contract in August.
The 30-year-old Adriano said he made his decision after talking to relatives.
"I gave a lot of thought to this after talking to friends and my family and I reached the conclusion that the best thing to do is to return only in 2013,'' Adriano said in a statement. "I made this decision not only for me, but for Flamengo too.''
He said he is close to regaining his best physical condition but it wouldn't be worth trying to return to the squad with only four matches left in the Brazilian league. He said the club needs to focus on those final matches.
"Believe me, this decision was made with everyone's interests in mind,'' he said.
Adriano said he will "keep training hard'' to be fit for his return in 2013, but didn't guarantee he will be back with Flamengo.
"I can affirm that in 2013 I'll be ready to play again, but I still don't know if it will be in Rio de Janeiro,'' he said.
Adriano underwent Achilles surgery on his left leg last year while playing for Corinthians and needed another medical procedure earlier this year because the first injury didn't heal properly. He hasn't played a match since March.
Adriano missed six training sessions since joining Flamengo in August after being fired by Corinthians for allegedly not taking his recovery process seriously.
After a warning just two weeks into his new deal with Flamengo, Adriano called a news conference and apologized to fans, teammates and the club, saying he would not make mistakes again. He said he knew Flamengo could end his contract if he didn't stay on track.
Without ever hiding his fondness of Rio's nightlife, Adriano told club directors at the time that he was "confused'' and had doubts about whether he would continue his career.
The club gave Adriano an ultimatum last month after his latest absence, and team directors reportedly were ready to end his contract after local media published images and videos of Adriano partying in Rio this weekend. His current deal with the club would end in December.
The talented striker's career has been marked by off-the-field problems and he made headlines in the past for an alleged drinking problem revealed by a club director, a public altercation with a girlfriend and a police investigation for alleged ties to drug lords in the shantytown where he grew up - although he was never charged.
Adriano began his career with Flamengo and played for Inter Milan and AS Roma, among other clubs.
He was in the starting lineup for Brazil at the 2006 World Cup, when the team was eliminated in the quarterfinals. Adriano was touted to make the team in 2010 in South Africa after leading Flamengo to the national title a year earlier, but was not included in the final squad. His last match with Brazil was in 2010.