Beşiktaş JK completed the signing of Adriano Correia from Barcelona over the past week for a reported initial fee of €600,000. The fee could rise by €1.7 million if Beşiktaş qualify for the UEFA Champions League while Adriano is in the team. He leaves Barcelona after winning 16 major trophies, including 4 La Liga, 3 Copa del Rey, 2 UEFA Champions League and 2 FIFA Club World Cup titles.
Adriano joined Barcelona from Sevilla in the summer of 2010 and made 31 appearances in all competitions in his first season. He would go on to play more games in the following seasons. Under Pep Guardiola, he played in several different positions thanks to his versatility and ability to play with both feet. He would play as a winger, central midfielder, right-back and mostly as a left-back. He would mostly cover for Eric Abidal in his absence.
In the 2012-13 season, Adriano played more games and proved his usefulness to the team by playing in the unfamiliar centre-back position in the first El Clasico of the season in La Liga. The centre-back pairing of Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol were both injured at the time so the only options were to choose either Alex Song or Marc Bartra to partner Sergio Busquets in defence since Javier Mascherano was going to play as a holding midfielder. Instead, the late Tito Vilanova chose Adriano to play in defence. Vilanova confirmed after the game that Adriano was chosen because he was the only player with enough pace to defend against the considerably quick Real Madrid attackers. Although Adriano did not have an entirely great performance, he still did the job to the best of his ability.
Adriano was an important player to the Barcelona team. He contributed significantly in attack and defence. Despite the fact that he played mostly as a left-back, his goal tally for Barcelona was in the double-figures. He was known for his spectacular goals, where he would cut in from the wing into the middle and hit the ball to the top corner of the goal.
The Brazilian also assisted a substantial amount of goals. The most notable one being the winning goal of the Spanish Super Cup second leg against Real Madrid at the start of the 2011-12 season. He hit a perfect cross from the right that was met with a beautiful volley by Lionel Messi.
He played his part in defence as well. One of his best defensive moments was his goal-line clearance in El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu in the 2010-11 season. Sergio Ramos headed the ball towards Cristiano Ronaldo who headed it for goal but Adriano was there on the line to save the day.
At the start of the 2014-15 season, during the medicals, the Barcelona doctors noticed that Adriano had an irregular heartbeat. He then missed the majority of the first half of the season because of this as he tried to recover and get back to playing his best football. He would go on to play mostly in the Copa del Rey games in that season and eventually contributed to what was to become a treble-winning season. In the 2015-16 season, he scored his first Champions League goal in the match against Roma at the Camp Nou in the group stages.
Adriano was by no means Barcelona’s best left-back but he was a player who always reported for duty when called upon. He would never complain about his lack of game time and always tried his best when he was on the pitch. He had ups and downs, frustrating and entertaining times at Barça but always did what was best for the team. He truly played his part in one of Barcelona’s most successful eras ever. All the best with the rest of your career, Adriano Correia!