It is as if it were happening right now: we watch Juan Sebastian Veron get ready to take the corner kick and there we are, angry about Stam's goal and about it being 2-2. But still hopeful, still confident. The ball is kicked, it starts to make a nice, quick turn, swooping into the heart of the area. There are a thousand jerseys, both Nerazzurri and Rossoneri. Burdisso tries to pounce, Christian Vieri for AC Milan opposes. But rising up and standing out above everyone else is our number 10, Adriano. He rises high to search for the ball at dizzying heights. Header. Goal. Delirium. Victory in the derby. It was 12 December 2005: Inter 3-2 Milan.
Today, February 17, 2021, Adriano Leite Ribeiro turns 39. We send him all the hugs and best wishes possible, all of our Nerazzurri affection.
A special birthday, which comes right before the derby. A battle against AC Milan, a match in which Adriano left his mark on two occasions. Three goals in two victories, both worth remembering.
As mentioned, that of 2005. A complete game for the Emperor. Unstoppable, in the height of his strength, in wonderful understanding with Martins. In that December derby Adriano gave one of his most complete and devestating performances. His penalty in the first half misplaced Dida, then in the second half his free-kick from distance was not held by the Brazilian goalkeeper and following up with a tap-in was Oba-Oba. Finally, the header for 3-2, celebrated in his typical style, waving the Inter shirt like a flag and kissing the Nerazzurri badge.
Another derby to remember in 2009, on 15 February. José Mourinho was in the dugout, Adriano back in the team that season after his loan at San Paolo. Facing an AC Milan with Pato and Ronaldinho, was an Inter attacking duo of Adriano and Ibrahimovic. Adriano's goal opened the scoring: a Maicon cross from the right, met with an inaccurate header, but which casually hits the Brazilian's arm and goes into the goal. Adriano's celebration is a run and a heartfelt hug towards Mourinho and a dedication to the Coach's son, who had indicated that the Brazilian was his favourite player. It was also a symbolic goal for Adriano, the last of the 74 he scored in 177 appearances in the Nerazzurri shirt. A 2-1 victory in that derby, thanks to a goal by Dejan Stankovic.
And so, on the eve of the league derby, we once again reiterate our warmest and most heartfelt good wishes to Adriano, our emperor.