If one were to talk about splashes in the transfer market, the Adriano’s arrival to the NPSL’s Miami United was the mother of all cannonballs. There were many more stars present at the W Hotel than in the Miami sky as one of the most recognizable names of the past decade came to South Florida. Cooler weather in South Florida or 14 months of inactivity failed to simmer down the expectations of Adriano’s arrival to North America soccer. “O Imperador” arrived dressed for the occasion with a grey-colored wool cap and a jacket to the presentation that saw many fans and media from various countries in attendance.
“My memories of Adriano were bad ones,” said Miami United president Roberto Sacca with a jocular tone. “I remember him as I am a (AC)Milan fan.” The former Inter and Parma man terrorized defensed from 2003 until 2008 when he was one of the leading scorers in Serie A scoring 71 goals in nearly 400 appearances.. During that time he was an integral part of the neroazzurri’s reign where they won four consecutive scudetti (league titles).
Adriano was also a major part of the Brazilian national team as he was the star of the 2004 Copa America. In that tournament, he won both the Golden Ball and the Golden Shoe as he was the top scorer (7 goals) and best player. His most memorable goal was the one his equalizer in in the final seconds of injury time against Argentina, forcing the match to go into penalties and the trophy would find its way back to Brazil for a seventh time.
“Right now this is a new start (for me),” said Adriano when asked about his move to his new club. “ I hope to help the team win a title and get to a higher league.”
“When I was presented with the project to play in Miami, I was very interested,” said Adriano. “I missed playing (soccer) the most.”
Adriano was also very aware of the leadership role he will assume with the team and knows that he will be looked to fulfill that responsibility. “I had a great experience playing alongside players like Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. I learned a great deal then and look to use those experiences here.” said the newly signed Miami United forward.
The most noticeable face at the press conference happened to be former AC Milan and Brazilian national team captain Cafú. He was a great soccer player as well as a very proud father as he looked forward to the debut of his son, Wellington Cafú, who is scheduled to be on Miami United’s roster this coming year. “(Wellington Cafú) has all the potential to be a great player. I just want him to follow his own path,” said the two-time World Cup winner. “For him it will be a great experience to learn alongside a player like Adriano.”
Cafú also talked about the importance of this move in terms of the club as well as the league. “I congratulate the courage shown by Miami United and I expect them to be champions,” said the former São Paulo FC man. “This is a big step for a young team that looks to be amongst the big clubs.”.
“Soccer in the US has changed a great deal since I played in the World Cup over 20 years ago,”. Said Cafú. “I have noticed a lot of change here and those changes are all positive.”
Adriano did give a timetable of about a week before he is ready to join the team’s pre-season. He also mentioned that he would not join the club right away. The Brazilian player still have to have some meetings with the club and get his physical beforehand in what promises to be one of the most intense NPSL seasons in history.