Tim Vickery column http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/default.stm
By Tim Vickery
South American football reporter
Adriano has regained his form and focus in Brazil
Winning the Italian title is not the only cause that Inter Milan have for celebration.
They can also prepare to roll out the red carpet to welcome Adriano back at something like his imperious best.
The Brazilian striker, beset by personal problems, was loaned back across the Atlantic to Sao Paulo to help him try and recover the form, fitness and focus that made him such a feared opponent.
The treatment seems to be working as last Thursday, Adriano was recalled to the Brazil squad, on merit.
The previous night he had produced an immense display against Fluminense in the first leg of an all-Brazilian quarter final of the Copa Libertadores, South America's Champions League equivalent.
Sao Paulo have the best defensive record in the competition, with just four goals conceded in nine games.
But they have only scored nine, with five of them coming from Adriano.
One of the team's biggest problems is the lack of a playmaker, so on Wednesday night Adriano filled that role as well.
He dropped deep to pick up possession, threaded through intelligent passes with his surprisingly subtle left foot, got up into the area to finish, created havoc in the air - in short, he was a one-man attack.
In addition to his technical qualities, what really stood out was his physical strength. As one Brazilian journalist commented, it was like watching a player of 18 up against 13-year-olds.
Adriano is a symbol of the process by which the Brazilian national team has bulked up over the years.
Physical preparation has long been taken very seriously in Brazilian football, but after the rise of Northern European football, and especially the Holland side of 1974, it became an obsession.
When he was co-ordinating Brazil's youth sides, former left-back Branco told me that right from the start of the process he was looking for big, strong boys.
Cabanas was top scorer in last year's Libertadores
If we can match the Europeans in physical terms, went the thinking, our technique will tip the balance.
It is a methodology that has brought results. But, like anything, it can be taken too far.
And perhaps because of this Olympian way of thinking - bigger, stronger, faster - a couple of Brazilian clubs have run into an ambush in the current Libertadores campaign.
Three weeks ago Salvador Cabanas was being treated as a laughing stock in the Brazilian press - but nobody is laughing now.
Cabanas is a Paraguayan striker who plays for America of Mexico. He is short and stocky - many would say overweight. He could not possibly offer a threat, it was said.
That was before he stunned Flamengo of Rio, scoring twice in an epic 3-0 win in the Maracana stadium, and sending America through to the quarter-finals after they had lost the first leg 4-2 at home.
Last week he scored two more against Santos, putting America in a strong position for Thursday's return game.
Ferenc Puskas was no sylph, and nor was Gerd Muller. It didn't stop them being great players.
Football is a game of twisting and turning, where much of the action takes place on the ground. A low centre of gravity is an advantage.
Cabanas should have come as no surprise. He was top scorer in last year's Libertadores.
He is strong on the ball, has excellent touch, turns wonderfully well, can shoot with either foot and has a well tuned positional sense.
He is a master at pulling away to the edges of the penalty area, ready to cut in on the diagonal - a bit like Romario, the stocky little striker who has consistently warned that Brazilian football is giving priority to physical over technical attributes.
In a column written last year, 1970 star Tostao argued that Romario was the last of the great small Brazilian strikers.
"If he arrived today in the junior divisions of a major club either the coach would place him in midfield or he would be rejected."
Adriano at his best shows that a balance can be found between physical strength and technical ability, but perhaps even as he scores goals against their teams Cabanas is making an equally important contribution to Brazilian football.
He is reminding it of its own essence, and of the essence of the game itself - it is a sport where all shapes and sizes are welcome.