Flamengo official: Adriano considering retirement

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SAO PAULO (AP) -Adriano has been cautioned again for missing training and the ex-Brazil international has told club officials he's not sure he wants to continue playing football, Flamengo club director Zinho said Monday.

Zinho said Adriano is "confused" and "has doubts about whether he will continue his career."

Zinho spoke with Adriano and said the 30-year-old striker doesn't know if he can perform at a high level again because of "personal problems." Adriano wants to talk to relatives and close friends before making a decision about his future.

"I want to believe that he can still get back," Zinho, a former Flamengo and Brazil player, said. "Adriano asked to talk to his mother, his friends and his agent before deciding what to do. He said he would consider whether he wants to try being a professional athlete again."

Flamengo took a chance on signing Adriano in August even though he hadn't played in more than six months because of surgery on his left Achilles tendon. He had been fired by Corinthians because he didn't take the recovery seriously.

Zinho said Adriano's personal "fears and doubts" lead the player to many of the off-the-field problems which have marked his career. 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.

"I'm afraid of what can happen if he stops playing," Zinho said.

Adriano missed practice on Saturday, leading to his third warning. Zinho said that the club has the right to end its contract with the player with cause, but it will continue to support him and leave the decision to the player to try to sort out his life. Flamengo signed a contract with Adriano based on productivity, meaning he will only be rewarded when he plays.

"He won't get on the field if he is not ready," Zinho said. "He will not play until the trainers say that he is ready."

The second warning came early in September after another missed practice following reports that he organized a party at a shantytown, something he didn't confirm or deny.

The player called a news conference at the time to apologize to the club, teammates and fans, saying he was only hurting himself by making such mistakes. He said that he would do "everything ... to keep this from happening again" and that it would be his "last chance."

He had already said that he would consider ending his career if he was not able to stay on track.

The powerful striker 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, but was not included in the final squad.

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