- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) - Adriano is already attracting headlines for the wrong reasons as he tries to come back to football after nearly two years without playing.

Just two matches into his high-profile return, the former Brazil star is in the middle of a controversy for showing his disappointment after being asked to substitute in with his team losing 2-0 and only a few minutes left.

Adriano had been warming up for the entire second half, but he went into the match only in the 83rd minute, and after a brief stare at his coach.

The striker opened his arms when he was told to get in, visibly upset he didn’t get an earlier chance. After the match, he sped through reporters without making any comments.

The 32-year-old Adriano was given a chance to play by Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense after a series of off-the-field problems and left Achilles surgery kept him sidelined and brought up retirement.

Adriano played less than 10 minutes in Atletico Paranaense’s 1-0 win over The Strongest of Bolivia two weeks ago, which was his first time on the field since March 2012. He played a total of about 10 minutes again against Velez Sarsfield in Argentina on Tuesday, with his only significant chance being a header that sailed over the crossbar late in the Copa Libertadores match.

Atletico Paranaense coach Miguel Angel Portugal downplayed Adriano’s disappointment.

“We have to take it slowly when it comes to Adriano so eventually he can start doing good things for our team,” the Spanish coach said. “He played a few minutes in the first match, and now a few more minutes in this second match, and it’s clear that he is happy and has a lot of desire to do well. He did the best he could.”

A headline at the Gazeta do Povo newspaper on Wednesday read: “Imperial Dissatisfaction,” referring to the striker’s “Emperor” nickname from the time he thrived with Inter Milan.

“We wanted him to get in, but it’s the coach who makes these decisions,” defender Manoel said. “He keeps telling us how much he wants to play and score goals, but we have to respect the coach.”

Adriano recently admitted it might be a while before he regains his top form, but said he was still hopeful of returning to his glory days and even playing for Brazil at the World Cup at home.

Ronaldo, who successfully came back to Brazil’s national team after a long period without playing, recently said Adriano can also make it happen.

“It’s difficult after all this time without playing,” his former Brazil teammate said recently. “But it’s up to him to work hard and show on the field what he can do.”


Tales Azzoni on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tazzoni

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