Former Brazil striker Adriano has been charged over allegations he helped a drugs lord by purchasing and registering a motorbike used for crime.

The troubled footballer, 32, gave a drugs baron the vehicle which was used in criminal activities in the city of Rio de Janeiro, claim prosecutors.

They say Adriano (full name, Adriano Leite Ribeiro) purchased the bike and registered it in the name of a notorious gang boss's mother in 2008.

It was then used by a gang called Red Command, claim allegations dating back to 2010.

Adriano – who has slipped out of professional football after winning trophies at top European club Inter Milan – denies the charge.

The burly forward has a long history of personal problems which curtailed him from football for large swathes of his career.

French club Le Havre was negotiating a deal to recruit Adriano shortly before news broke of the drugs-related charge.

Since leaving Europe for his native Brazil, Adriano has been spotted drinking in some of Rio's favelas – sprawling shanty towns often controlled by ruthless gangs, which regularly battle police for control in bloody shootouts.