For long stretches of the season, Adriano Correia has been Barcelona's #2 centerback option after Gerard Pique. Yet, he's scored one more goal than Andres Iniesta this season. That should tell you something about the Brazilian fullback's versatility.
Fast and completely ambidextrous, Adriano can line up on either side with ease. He can launch missiles with either leg, a fact that he proved with two sensational and important goals in La Liga from opposite sides of the pitch. One, with his left leg from the right side into the left corner to draw the scores level in an eventual win against Atletico Madrid. The other, with his right boot from the left side to the right corner in the only goal of a 1-0 win over Valencia.
But what makes Cules jittery about the fact that he's been tied down to Barcelona?
It's simple: Adriano has been injury-prone for his entire stay. Every year he seems to pick up injury after injury, and worse, many times he will come back for only a game or two before he's injured again.
That, along with his advancing age, makes him a conundrum. While he provides great depth at both left-back and right-back, while giving additional cover at centerback, right wing, and left wing, he paradoxically does not help depth concerns because he's unavailable much of the time.
The team's doctors must surely know this is a problem, and they should be working overtime to find a solution. But will they be able to?
And if they can't, is Adriano still worth the investment?