The ex-Inter striker last played a professional game on March 4 2012, for Corinthians, with the 31-year-old having been beset by problems off the pitch during an ill-fated spell with Flamengo in which he failed to make a single competitive appearance for the club.
However, Adriano, who was top scorer at the Copa America in 2004 and at the Confederations Cup a year later, came on in the 86th minute as Paranaense defeated Bolivia's The Strongest 1-0 in the Copa Libertardores.
Unsurprisingly, the four-time Italian Serie A winner was thrilled to finally get back out on the pitch.
"I've been battling every day to reach my target," Adriano told reporters.
"I've gone through so many things in my life and taking part in an important competition such as the Libertardores makes me happy and emotional."