Inter Milan striker Adriano has told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he is excited about returning to Italy and is confident that he has put his problems behind him. The 26 year-old lost all form and confidence in 2007 as he battled with alcoholism, and he was loaned to Sao Paulo in his native Brazil to get into shape and rediscover his touch.
Now he is back in the Brazil squad ahead of their 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier with Argentina, and excited about the challenge of playing under new Inter coach Jose Mourinho, who flew to South America to watch tonight's match.
"I haven't heard from him, but I know he will be in the stands and I think we will talk after the match," Adriano said. "I hope to start and I intend to take my chance. If he sees that I haven't lost my drive I will pay him back in the Champions League. I believe this is Inter's target."
The Rio de Janeiro native was also quick to play down concerns from the Inter fans that he may return to his old ways in northern Italy. In his last few months in Milan he was regularly seen leaving nightclubs and bars in the early hours of the morning, which did little to help his form on the pitch.
"I'm not sure how it will go at the beginning. I will have to win over the fans again and rightly so." he said. "If they are worried that I will make the same mistakes off the field as before, then they shouldn't be concerned.
Adriano's time in Sao Paulo did not start as planned when he was sent off for head-butting Santos full-back Domingos and was later fined for arriving late for training. However, the former Flamengo, Parma and Fiorentina striker settled down and scored 17 goals in 28 matches.
"The first three weeks in Sao Paulo were really hard. I'm from Rio, I was used to other things and I had to adapt," he said. "Then I understood what I needed to do and the rest just followed and since then I've played really well and scored many goals."