20 YEARS TODAY: ADRIANO'S FREE KICK AGAINST REAL MADRID

On 14 August 2021, the Brazilian won the Bernabeu Trophy with an unforgettable strike

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20 years today: Adriano's free kick against Real Madrid
20 years today: Adriano's free kick against Real Madrid
20 years today: Adriano's free kick against Real Madrid
20 years today: Adriano's free kick against Real Madrid
20 years today: Adriano's free kick against Real Madrid
20 years today: Adriano's free kick against Real Madrid

MILAN - 14 August 2001. Real Madrid were hosting Inter in the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy - which  the home fans treated as much more than a summer friendly tournament. This had all the hallmarks of a competitive cup match. The stadium was rocking that night. An extraordinary setting, and an iconic breakout moment for a very special player. That evening, Adriano Leite Ribeiro, who had been scoring goals for fun in Brazil, made a dramatic entrance into European football.  

Entering the fray in the second half wearing the number 14 shirt, he wasted no time in showing off his dribbling skills as he raced around the pitch. He was unstoppable  Then he hit one of the most powerful free-kicks in the history of the beautiful game, beating Iker Casillas to secure a 2-1 victory for the Nerazzurri and silencing the entire stadium in the process. 

Adriano looked back on that magical night in a letter published on Inter’s website: “On 14 August 2001, I was at the Bernabeu, wearing an Inter shirt, and we were up against Real. That in itself would have been enough for me. But then I got out onto the pitch. I didn't think about it - it was just like I was playing on that dusty pitch in Vila Cruzeiro. I began dribbling around, trying to nutmeg people. Everything came off for me. I won a free kick, and on the sidelines they were calling for me to have a shot. Remember that left-footed shot I’d always practised at home and in the streets that drove my mum crazy? That day I introduced it to the world with that free kick. They say that shot reached 170 kilometres an hour!” 



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