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Adriano 'was in a Rio slum'

BRAZIL striker Adriano reportedly spent three days with childhood friends in a Rio de Janeiro slum after failing to return to Inter Milan.

Police inspector Marcus Reimao told the Terra Website that Adriano was apparently depressed because his girlfriend broke up with him and went to the slum to stay with friends.

Reimao said Adriano stayed at the Alemao slum until Saturday. He was supposed to return to Italy after Brazil's World Cup qualifier against Peru on Wednesday.

The police officer denied the striker was kidnapped, as reported by some local media.

"The kidnapping story is very absurd," Reimao told Terra. "He is an idol in the community where he grew up and he would be the last person to be a target of kidnapping."

He said Adriano left the slum on Sunday and was staying with his relatives in Rio.

The player's agent, Gilmar Rinaldi, told local media that Adriano was dealing with personal problems, but dismissed rumors that he had an encounter with the police or was involved in an accident.

Rinaldi said it wasn't clear when Adriano would return to Italy. Local media said it could be next week.

The Brazilian football confederation said in a statement late on Sunday that Adriano was in contact with Inter directors and had told them of his "delicate personal moment." The confederation also said Adriano was in contact with national team coach Dunga.

Once one of the world's most fearsome strikers, Adriano has struggled with fitness and alcohol problems since the 2006 World Cup and shown only small doses of his previous form since then.

Rinaldi confirmed that Adriano had been in the Vila Cruzeiro shanty-town where he was raised visiting friends.

"I don't have the right to ask Adriano not to go to the Vila Cruzeiro because it's where his family lives, where he grew up," Rinaldi said.

"The price you pay for being someone who is well-known and for coming from where he came from is very high."


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