After an impressive start to the season, Goal.com profiles Barcelona full back Adriano and how he has managed to find a place for himself in this star studded line-up...
An extremely versatile player, Adriano can play on either sides of the defense and in the midfield as well. He is quick, skillful and and one of the few full backs who is capable of playing with both feet as he is naturally two footed, although there have been question marks over his defensive abilities as his attacking mentality can leave the wings exposed.
Last season Adriano could not get into the starting lineup often as he was mainly used as a backup left back. But injuries to key defenders over the course of the season helped Adriano settle into this Barcelona side. With Maxwell leaving for PSG and Eric Abidal missing most of the last season, Adriano's competition was cut short. The Brazilian went onto make 30-odd appearances for the Catalans and although he had his moments over lesser opponents, he didn't have great outings against Real Madrid and Chelsea where Barcelona used a 3-man defense. Although he played lesser number of games compared to the rest of the squad, Adriano's passing earned plaudits as he was among the five players to complete more than 1000 passes.
|Adriano's form has been a key factor this season|
At the start of the season, Barcelona signed Jordi Alba from Valencia to fill in the vacant left back spot due to Abidal's poor medical condition. After Dani Alves' collar bone injury at the start of the season, Adriano was preferred by Tito Vilanova over Martin Montoya at the right back role. Things did not start off well for the Brazilian who failed to impress the new manager as he was sent off for a foul on Cristiano Ronaldo in the Spanish Super Cup which Barcelona went onto lose on the away goal rule.
|Adriano season 2012/13 statistics|
|Games (Subs)||13 (2)|
|Shots per game||1.5|
|Aerial duels won per game||1.3|
Barcelona have made a remarkable start to the season as they have been unbeaten in the league so far and although the headlines have mostly captured Lionel Messi's outstanding run, Adriano is slowly and steadily making a name for himself in this team.
|Adriano's excellent form has earned him a regular spot|
Apart from being a competent defender this season, Adriano is the fourth highest scorer for Barcelona with 5 goals in the La Liga. His spectacular strike against Atletico Madrid last week came at an important time for the Catalans who were on the back-foot after conceding early on. Adriano was excellent going forward and although he has been criticised for his defending, he was solid at the back and provided cover when needed. Adriano was replaced by Dani Alves late on, a scene that might become very familiar as the season progresses. Tito Vilanova appears to favour Adriano whose ability to play anywhere on the field has been appreciated by the new manager.
Adriano's key goals this season have been a welcome gift for the Catalan side. “I’m very pleased that I’m able to score goals for the team,” said Adriano who has now scored against Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Getafe and Celta Vigo in the league. His blossoming form this season has kept Dani Alves out of the first team who missed the start of the season due to an injury. If Adriano can continue his excellent start to this season, Barcelona already have a ready replacement for Dani Alves, who has been linked with a move away from Camp Nou recently.
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