Javier Zanetti Reveals Why Adriano's Depression Was the 'Biggest Defeat' of His Own Football Career
Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti has revealed failing to help Adriano overcome depression after the death of his father was the biggest defeat of his career.
Adriano was seen as a highly promising striker during his time with Inter and scored 29 goals in 50 appearances for his national side, Brazil, but has struggled since leaving the club, having spells with different Brazilian sides.
Zanetti is seen as a legendary figure at the San Siro, having played over 850 matches for Inter, but says the biggest disappointment of his career was being unable to rescue his former teammate from depression.
He said, as quoted by Sempre Inter: "We were playing in a friendly match against Real Madrid, he scored an impressive goal. I told myself, 'Javier, this right here is the new Ronaldo! He's got it all - strength, technique, dribble, speed, shot, heading...'
"Adriano had a father he was very attached to. Before the season, actually at the time we were playing at TIM Trofeo, something shocking happened. He got a phone-call from Brazil: 'Adi, dad is dead'... 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. Since that day [Massimo] Moratti and myself watched over him as he was our little brother.
"Meanwhile he kept on playing football, he scored goals and watched towards the sky dedicating them to him. Since that phone-call nothing was the same.
"Ivan Cordoba spent one night with him and said: 'Adi, you're a mix of Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic. Are you aware that you could become best player ever?'
"We did not succeed of pulling him out of depression. And that is perhaps my biggest defeat of a whole career. It still hurts me I was so powerless."