Adriano to take break and rethink career

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil and Inter Milan striker Adriano said on Thursday he was taking a break from football and would rethink his career. "I've lost the happiness of playing," the 27-year-old told reporters. "I wouldn't like to go back to Italy, I want to live in peace here in Brazil." "I don't know if I'm going to stay for one, two or thee months without playing. I'm going to rethink my career." He denied he was suffering from depression, added that happiness was more important than money, and said he had been living with the pressures of being a professional footballer since he was a teenager. Adriano failed to return to Italy after last week's World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Peru, in which he was an unused substitute. On Monday, his agent Gilmar Rinaldi said Adriano had stayed in Brazil because of a private matter and confirmed the player had spent time in Vila Cruzeiro, a Rio de Janeiro favela notorious for violence, where he was raised. Since then, Brazilian media had been full of speculation over what had happened to him. "There's no way I'm going to stop visiting my community," said Adriano. "That's where I'm at ease, barefoot and in bermudas." "A lot of things have been said in the newspapers but everything I've done has been thought through. I'm not ill. Adriano's not dead," he said, smiling. The striker, who has 29 goals in 47 appearances for Brazil, made his mark at international level when he was top scorer at the 2004 Copa America and the following year's Confederations Cup after replacing the unavailable Ronaldo in both tournaments. FALSE DAWNS He also scored a hat-trick in World Cup qualifier against Chile in September 2005. The powerful forward has struggled with fitness and alcohol problems since the 2006 World Cup, showing only flashes of the form that made him one of the world's most feared predators. He spent six months on loan with Sao Paulo in the first half of last year but after returning to Inter he irritated coach Jose Mourinho with a perceived lack of commitment. But Adriano, who has had a number of false dawns, had been edging back into favour at the club in the last two months. "I genuinely wasn't happy in doing what I've always enjoyed. I've lost the appetite, the glow. That's one of the things which made me do this. Money's not important, nothing is important in life apart from happiness. "There's no other problem. I like to laugh, to joke around and that wasn't happening any more. I wasn't enjoying myself on the pitch. "I've got nothing against Inter but I wasn't happy in Italy. There has been very great pressure on me since I was 18. I've taken this decision so I can be happy again. It's nothing to do with depression, I know what I'm doing."