January Break Report: Adriano

David Ramos

Adriano Correia came into the season with some fans doubting whether he was even needed anymore with Jordi Alba on the team. Now, the Barcelona front office cannot wait to re-sign him. We look at the Brazilian fullback's fine first half of the season.

Since Adriano came from Sevilla, he has been a difficult one to judge. Fast, two-footed, and full of stamina, he seemed a great fit to be the "Dani Alves of the left", and yet he never broke Eric Abidal's stranglehold on the starting spot.

Called into action due to Abidal's surgeries, Adriano was inconsistent and frequently injured. Some fans questioned whether it was worth keeping him on the team. Even the most charitable supporters argued that he was a good, versatile backup - not a star.

In the Supercup return leg, he seemed blindsided by Real Madrid. Picked as a replacement due to a last-minute injury to Alves at right back, he got sent off in the 28th minute with Barcelona losing by two... and it's almost as if the team was better off without him.

But since, he's been brilliant; the questions about Adriano are largely forgotten. Even with Martin Montoya looking like a future star, Jordi Alba proving as the signing of the season, and Alves returning from injury, it's arguable Adriano is the team's best fullback.

In the league he's proven indispensable. He fired a scorching shot that gave Barcelona a 1-0 win against Valencia; cutting in from the left, he whacked the ball with his right foot and into the top-right corner.

And in a pivotal match with second-place Atletico de Madrid leading 1-0, Adriano cut in from the right, whacked the ball with his left foot and into the top-left corner to begin a 4-1 comeback victory.

Besides playing on both flanks, Adriano was called into action to deputize as a central defender with both Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol out against Real Madrid. The Brazilian put in a fine shift despite never playing the role before in a match.

Shedding some weight during the offseason, Adriano looks speedier and a bit less likely to be injured. He's been on fire offensively; his six goals are good enough for fourth on the team.

Not only that, but he's been clutch. Of the six, two goals have been equalizers and three have put Barca up by one. His lone assist gave Barca a last-gasp win over Celtic in the Champions League.

Lowest point:

Clearly the Supercup return leg was his worst match so far. Possibly it was because he was not prepared for the moment. Or maybe he was just unlucky.

Highest point:

Arguably his best moment was the league Clasico considering how difficult it is for an attack-minded wingback to play in central defense. But let's face it, people will remember either one of the beauties he scored against Atletico Madrid and Valencia. The Valencia goal is probably a bit more important because it signified three points...

but the Atletico one energized the team in a bigger match.

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