Former Brazil striker Adriano charged with drug links

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Former Brazil striker Adriano has been charged with links to a drug lord in Rio de Janeiro, the BBC is reporting.

The charges allegedly stem from the former striker having given a drug dealer a motorbike that was used in criminal activities.

Allegations first emerged in 2010 when Brazilian police claimed the player had bought a motorbike in 2008 and registered it in the name of the mother of a known drug dealer – Paulo Rogerio de Souza Paz, known as Mica. The bike was thereafter used for drug trafficking through a Rio favelas controlled by Comando Vermelho, a criminal gang. At the time, Adriano denied the allegations.

While Brazilian prosecutors have not requested an arrest warrant for Adriano they are looking to seize his passport. He is scheduled to fly home to Brazil on Tuesday night and, if found guilty, faces up to 15 years in prison.

A product of Flamengo, Adriano rose to international fame when he scored 37 goals for Parma in a two-year span from 2002-2004. That form saw him transferred for 23 million euros to Inter Milan where he scored 47 goals in 147 appearances from 2004-2009. Towards the end of his career at the San Siro, Adriano’s form dipped considerably due to allegations of excessive partying and poor work ethic.

A season at Flamengo from 2009-2010 saw a brief revival where he scored 19 goals in 31 appearances before a transfer back to Italy where he made just five appearances for Roma. Adriano thereafter returned to Brazil, playing four matches with Corinthians before signing with Flamengo and Atletico Parenaense but failing to play. Earlier this season he had been negotiating a comeback with second division French club Le Havre that failed to materialize.

During his international career with Brazil, Adriano scored 27 goals in 48 appearances.