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Posts Tagged ‘aggression’

Considering the pessimistic, i.e. realistic outlook for yesterday’s game against Flamengo, the draw was a good result (even though Palmeiras could have returned home with three points, as the carioca goal featured a participating player in the offside position). Even more important: players gave 100 per cent and seemed focused on nothing else but the game. The squad demonstrated unity, indicating that the doomsday predictions were exaggerated and that Scolari is still very much on top of things. Watch the game highlights below.

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Kleber drew the shortest straw. After a very heated argument with Scolari the night before yesterday, the “Gladiator” didn’t travel to Rio de Janeiro with the rest of the squad and Scolari categorically and repeatedly confirmed – both before and after the game – that Kleber would not be playing under his command again. Director of football Frizzo echoed the decision this morning on returning to São Paulo, confirming that Kleber will be training separately from the rest of the squad and that he will not wear Palmeiras’ jersey again.

It seems like we’re de facto coming to the end of “Klebergate”; that frustrated attempt of our very own Judas to get a substantial salary raise by threatening a transfer to Flamengo (which included faking injury in order not to reach the seven-games-played transfer limit). There are today many a Palmeiras supporter wondering what to do with that once favourite #30 jersey, not to mention those poor sods who bought a wretched “action figure”. Serves as a lesson to us all: players come and go but Palmeiras is eternal. One needs to choose “idols” carefully; in activity at Palmeiras today, there’s Marcos. No one else. End of story.

The normally well informed Conrado Cacace (no, I’m not getting paid each time I make reference to the Verdazzo chief editor) did a bit of investigating and early came up with additional information on the João Vítor incident. A few things are especially worth noticing:

- This might not have been the first time João Vítor is in trouble with supporters. The police are investigating if Tuesday’s incident is the continuation of previous unresolved business.

- Possibly, there was only one supporter approaching João Vítor and the other two. When things got physical, the other supporters came running.

The above information might explain why the official note by Palmeiras was surprisingly vague and only made reference to the upcoming police investigation. There’s always (at least) two sides to every story. Stay tuned.

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Today’s post was going to reflect my dissatisfaction with coach Luiz Felipe Scolari – our US$ 400.000 a month star – who after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat against Santos threw the towel and declared that chances for qualification for next year’s Libertadores Cup was zero. With ten rounds to go and Palmeiras six point behind that last spot, it’s unacceptable language. Last year, Fluminense was in a much worse situation but escaped relegation through a heroic performance in the last weeks of the championship. As long as there is a mathematical chance, you are expected to FIGHT, damn it! I have some more well-chosen words for Mr Scolari, but they’ll have to wait.

Yesterday afternoon, while shopping some jerseys together with his brother in law and one more friend at the Palmeiras store in front of the Academia, Palmeiras midfielder João Vítor was harassed and suffered injuries from physical aggression, as a group of 15-20 Palmeiras “supporters” (read thugs) demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the team’s performance as of late. João Vítor returned back to the training grounds – where the squad leaving for today’s game against Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro was going through some last minute details – and was then taken to hospital. He is apparently OK. There’s little news at this point on the health status of his brother in law and the friend.

Anything Palmeiras has a firm position: any act of violence against players is inadmissible under any circumstances.

The incident obviously caused great impact with the squad. Kleber got into an argument with director of football Frizzo and possibly with Scolari, and abandoned the training session. The squad, that was scheduled for a 9pm flight, instead left this morning for Rio de Janeiro. Kleber did not show up. Possibly, he was told by the director’s that he was out; the details we’ll know later.

The team is falling apart. The important game against Flamengo is what least matters at this point, as players reflect on their situation, their safety, the safety of their families. In addition, a catch-22 has been installed: if we imagine the impossible, i.e. Palmeiras beating Flamengo tonight, wouldn’t it serve as “proof” – at least in the minds of some – that the intimidation and aggression of players works? Now who would want that?    

João Vítor is a young and quiet chap, someone who’s never been in the crossfire. Mostly on the bench, and currently recovering from an injury, he’s a very unlikely target. Conrado Cacace of Verdazzo puts it well, claiming there are really only two possible options to characterise this incident: a) totally random and isolated, where a group of (possibly drunk) “supporters” air their frustrations, or b) an orchestrated event to destabilise Palmeiras even more, turning attention away from the upcoming political mobilisations that seem to be gaining strength among a broad spectrum of supporters. Second option sounds paranoid? Well, yes: especially if you’re not much familiarised with Palmeiras and the back stage of things at this almost century-old club.

We’ve seen it happen before. Palmeiras is like one of those jelly squeeze toys: get a good grip somewhere, and it will immediately remould in your hand, popping out where you least expect it. Scary.

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