By Andrew Downie
Former Brazil striker Adriano has been charged in connection with drug trafficking by a public prosecutor in Rio de Janeiro, court officials said.
Prosecutors allege that the 32-year-old former Inter Milan, Flamengo and Corinthians player bought a motorbike for a Rio drug trafficker to use in criminal activities in 2008.
He is accused of aiding and abetting the trafficker whom prosecutors say was a childhood friend of his in Vila Cruzeiro, one of Rio’s most violent favelas.
“The accused, freely and consciously, in collaborating in the trafficking of drugs, associated with active traffickers in the Vila Cruzeiro (favela) with the intention of facilitating the illicit trafficking of drugs and related activities,” the statement read.
Adriano’s spokesperson told Reuters judicial officials have not formally presented the player – whose full name isAdriano Leite Ribeiro – with the charges and he has no knowledge of them.
Adriano is in Le Havre negotiating a return to football with the French second division club and will only face trial if a judge decides there is merit to the accusations.
The troubled striker won the Copa America and the Confederations Cup with Brazil and two Serie A scudettos with Inter Milan but has spent years battling drink and weight problems.
He has been out the game since attempting a brief comeback with Atletico Paranaense earlier this year.