Straight from the dark heart of Italy
The only way to entice Adriano out of the favelas and back across the Atlantic would be to tell the Slumdog Millionaire that Inter’s Serie A title-party celebrations are starting early.
The fun-loving, misunderstood, man-child has apparently been hanging out in the ‘hood in Rio rather than making use of that first-class plane ticket so he can get back to his day job.
He didn’t even have the good grace to tell the two most important people in his little world, his mama and his agent, of the changes to his busy social calendar.
"I'm just going over there for a bit. I won't be long"
There was plenty of hand-wringing and sitting up late by the phone back in Italy. Had the poor fellow been kidnapped? Had the dark clouds of depression closed in at the thought of having to return to the dark clouds hanging over Milan?
Anyway, it’s not has if Jose Mourinho needs to deal with any more eccentric behaviour this close to ticking off another league title to his list of achievements - and he won’t be in too much of a hurry to welcome back his wayward striker.
A comical goal at Udinese, coupled with some equally side-splitting defending by Juventus has left the good doctor’s league leaders nine points clear with eight games to play.
All 20 teams took to the pitch on Sunday in a throwback to the good old days when the Sabbath was given over to the national game.
The move was primarily to allow the South Americans - Adriano apart - to recover from their exploits in last week’s World Cup qualifiers.
However, with no Italian involvement in the Champions League, it was also an opportunity to test stadium attendance and TV viewing figures throughout the day, with staggered kick-offs from 1pm until 9pm.
There was plenty of excitement and drama from the moment Fiorentina snatched a last-minute win at Atalanta at 2.46pm.
Juve then allowed lowly Chievo to grab an even later equaliser in a thoroughly entertaining 3-3 draw in Turin, where former Torino youth player Sergio Pellissier grabbed a hat-trick, and hand Inter the sort of opportunity they were not likely to spurn when they took to the pitch at 7pm.
In the grand scheme of things a draw would have been just as equally welcomed until Patrick Vieira fell over in the area, and when the ball ricocheted off the Frenchman’s shin, Mauricio Isa was left free to side-foot home … unfortunately into his own net.
AC Milan were involved in the late show at 9pm against Lecce. And they kept everyone at the San Siro on tenterhooks well into injury-time before Philippe Senderos broke the deadlock with a header, which cannoned off Ronaldinho’s alice-band, and then Filippo Inzaghi brought an eventful day to the end with his 301st career goal.
Earlier, at the more traditional 3pm slot, Francesco Totti made a rare appearance for Roma and proved that there is life in the old warrior yet as he slammed home two penalties against Bologna.
In what was probably a first in acceptance speeches for the man-of-the-match award, he also dedicated the goals to himself because in Tot’s words, “I deserve it.”
"What would you do without me, eh?"
Equally deserving of praise are Genoa who are looking like genuine candidates for fourth place.
Il Grifone are two points ahead of Fiorentina and more importantly maintained their five-point gap over Roma thanks to Thiago Motta’s only goal at Reggina.
The Brazilian has been enjoying something of a renaissance of his own of late, having arrived under the radar from a treatment table somewhere in Spain, leaving many footballers followers still asking, “didn’t he used to play for Barcelona?”
If Serie A keeps entertaining us like this then we will soon be asking “didn’t he used to…” questions about Adriano.
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