Palmeiras and Cruzeiro yesterday night confirmed concluded negotiations in regard to four players: midfielders Robinho and Fabrício, right-back Fabiano and forward Willian. In short, the deal is as follows:

# Palmeiras return Fabrício to Cruzeiro.

# Cruzeiro keep Robinho for one more year, sending Willian over to Palmeiras in return. Both players can extend their loan agreements for two additional season if they and he clubs so wish. Palmeiras are not allowed to negotiate Robinho with another club without Cruzeiro’s consent.

# Palmeiras acquires 40% of Fabiano’s economic rights, keeping him at Palmeiras on a permanent basis.

willian_reducedThe only “new” player involved in the transactions is Willian, 30, nickname “bigode” (moustache). Originally from the small municipality of Três Fronteiras, state of São Paulo, the 170 cm tall forward had spells at Atlético Paranaense, Figueirense, Corinthians and Metalist Kharkiv (Ukraine) before making it big at Cruzeiro, regularly appearing during the club’s back-to-back Brasileirão titles of 2013 and 2014. His numbers for 2015 remained good, but dipped last year, with only 7 braces in 47 appearances. The weak 2016 cannot however be attributed to a lack of trying: summing shots on target in the League and the Brazil Cup, Willian divided second place with Palmeiras’ Gabriel Jesus – both with 39 – only behind Vitórias’ Marinho with 45.

Willian is an experienced, talented and hard-working player. Robinho had a good year at Cruzeiro and quickly got the supporter’s approval. The deal seems well-balanced and equally beneficial for both clubs.

Willian, welcome and the best of luck!

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

fernando-prass-1-611x600While with the Brazilian Olympic squad preparing for the Rio de Janeiro games, the Palmeiras keeper injured his right elbow and had to undergo surgery. Prass’ forced absence from most of the second half of the 2016 Brazilian Championship will now yield some € 150.000 to the club.

Since 2012, FIFA has adopted a program that protects clubs entrusting players to national squads for FIFA games and tournaments. In 2016, the Olympics were included in the mechanism, which triggered the request from Palmeiras’ legal department. This is the first time FIFA has granted such a request from a Brazilian club, the compensation based on the period of absence and salary of the player. Palmeiras have already received the first instalment, the second and final expected before the end of the month.

Now fully recovered, Prass yesterday were among the players reuniting for Palmeiras’ pre-season, aware he must step up his game to recover his position in the starting eleven. 

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

Today, the Palmeiras squad was reunited for the first time in 2017, kick-starting pre-season activities with 26 athletes all in all, including reinforcements Veiga, Bastos, Keno and Hyoran. Guerra and Melo have been given a few days extra, as they were playing throughout December. Also Mina has received additional days off, as he used the first week of his vacation to recover from injury.

In addition to players already wearing other club colours, others were missing due to already well advanced transfer negotiations: keeper Vagner, midfielder Gabriel, and forwards Allione and Leandro Pereira.

Right-back Fabiano is with Cruzeiro, awaiting a positive conclusion of the Robinho negotiation in order to return to Palmeiras. Possibly, Fabiano will return accompanied by yet another reinforcement: forward Willian.

Arouca and Barrios were also present today, although their permanence at the club is unlikely, both currently studying offers from other clubs, with Palmeiras’ approval.

Players present today:

Keepers: Fernando Prass, Jailson and Vinicius Silvestre
Full-backs: Egídio, Jean and Zé Roberto
Centre-backs: Edu Dracena, Thiago Martins and Vitor Hugo
Defensive midfielders: Arouca, Rodrigo, Thiago Santos and Tchê Tchê
Offensive midfielders: Fabrício, Hyoran, Michel Bastos, Moisés, Raphael Veiga and Vitinho
Forwards: Alecsandro, Dudu, Erik, Keno, Lucas Barrios, Rafael Marques and Róger Guedes

In addition, Palmeiras today announced the signing of Antônio Carlos, a 23-year-old centre-back who played for Ponte Preta in 2016. He comes with the blessing of coach Eduardo Baptista, responsible for Ponte’s more than decent 2016 campaign.

Speaking of Eduardo Baptista, the coach was the natural centre of attention today, as players for the first time got a closer look at their commander. The 46-year-old firmly states he is prepared for the challenge, highlighting that Palmeiras picked him because the club’s directors believe in his working methods.
Baptista is considered a serious, modern and dedicated coach: he spent last month watching all Palmeiras’ games in the 2016 Brazilian championship, having requested a wide angle viewpoint to allow for tactical analysis. He also had talks with outgoing coach Cuca. Baptista says he has reached an understanding regarding what good parts need to be maintained at Palmeiras, and the not so good parts to develop further.

Our new coach sees Palmeiras’ squad as very qualified, but the high number of games during the season – close to 80, if Palmeiras go far in all competitions – is a natural concern. The solution goes through a decent-sized squad and, more importantly, frequent rotation among players, according to Baptista. Fairness is crucial, making players understand that decisions will be based on what happens on the pitch – during training and games. Work hard, perform well, and you will have your go, is Baptista’s message.

Here at Anything Palmeiras, our message is the same as always: Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
*all pictures, Cesar Greco/Palmeiras

No other major Brazilian club has been more active on the 2016/2017 transfer market. Four players have already received coverage here, namely (in order of signing) Raphael Veiga, Hyoran, Keno and Alejandro Guerra, but two more players of rank – both midfielders – have been added to the squad: Michel Bastos and Felipe Melo.
33-year-old Michel Bastos has been in Palmeiras’ sights for some time. The midfielder, who doubles on the right flank, played eight years in Europe (Lille, Lyon, Schalke 04, Roma) before returning to Brazil and São Paulo FC in 2014. With 10 caps to his CV, Bastos is very experienced, competitive, and in my opinion a very good signing. The agreement is for two years, extendable for one more year.
Felipe Melo is also 33, has a solid international career (Fiorentina, Juventus, Galatasaray, Internazionale) and 22 caps with the national squad. 183 cm tall, the aggressive defensive midfielder immediately struck a chord with the bulk of Palmeiras’ supporters, and their enthusiasm captivated the player in return. “I got really impressed by the warmth of the supporters. Even before signing, they already had me feeling like a palmeirense. That makes all the difference”, Melo stated yesterday. The contract is valid for three seasons. Another very good signing, up there leveled with Guerra.

However, Palmeiras have not only signed players, but also defined routes for most of those expected to have limited opportunity in the 32-man squad envisioned by coach Eduardo Baptista:

Three players are heading to Chapecoense, the Santa Catarina club forced to undertake a complete restructuring after the tragic and criminal plane crash. Defensive midfielder Amaral, centre-back Nathan and right-back João Pedro are all on one-year loans. Chapecoense have repeatedly expressed their gratitude toward Palmeiras, saying the Verdão is one of the few clubs to have followed up initial words of solidarity with action.

Right-back Lucas, who spent most of 2016 at Cruzeiro together with Robinho, is today in Rio de Janeiro undergoing medical exams before signing his transfer to Fluminense. Offensive midfielder Robinho is expected to remain in Belo Horizonte, although the deal – which was to include the transfer of right-back Fabiano to Palmeiras – seems to have jammed somewhat.

Matheus Sales, another defensive midfielder, will do a year with Bahia, from Salvador. Also playmaker Cleiton Xavier is heading for the same city, but will play for Vitória, in a permanent deal, releasing him from his contract with Palmeiras. In compensation, Palmeiras will receive 18-year-old offensive midfielder/forward Yan on a one-year loan, with an option to buy. 

Defensive midfielder Gabriel will not remain at Palmeiras, his asking price for renewing considered too high by the management, Corinthians being the likely destination.

Forward Allione is reportedly close to Sport, from Recife.

While all of this is going down, palmeirenses near and far eagerly await but one announcement: who will be the club’s matador in 2017, the true #NINE? Speculations run wild, with heavy-hitters Miguel Borja (Atlético Nacional of Colombia) and Lucas Pratto (Atlético Mineiro) leading the polls. The former is favoured by most, but very expensive. Well, that is what we were told regarding Felipe Melo as well…

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

by Douglas Monaco*

The complexities of running a football enterprise – be it a club or a stock market listed team – are severe and require a permanent eye to innovation and a determined preservation of the knowledge base upon which the entity reaches its successes.

This article draws on lessons from the years 1992-1999 – known in Brazilian football circles as the Parmalat Era – to make the case for a knowledge management – KM – system to be implemented at São Paulo based, Brazilian side Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras.

The only real source of sustainable competitive advantage is knowledge.

Management guru Peter Drucker

In our paper, we define KM as a collection of processes that includes knowledge generation, storage, transfer, and usage, and whose aim is to increase an organization’s value for its stakeholders. In essence, we can say that KM is a process of ensuring that the right knowledge is available to the right people at the right time[1].

Caveat: by making the case for the KM system, the article does not imply certainty that Palmeiras isn’t presently building one. Such certainty would require a level of access to internal processes that this author does not possess. The purpose here is to advocate for the importance of it not being overlooked. In case there is one already “in the oven”, all the better!


Palmeiras is repositioning itself to deal with football’s complexities
The complexity of running a football enterprise has always been there. Though in the beginning, this feature wasn’t as prominent as it is today, it’s known now that those that are slow in recognizing the trends tend to lag and the longer the delay, the costlier the catch-up.

Palmeiras is such a case as we the supporters know all too well: for one set of clear examples of the catch-up costs, simply look at the team’s performance between the years 2000 and 2014.

Its recently outgoing president said many times during his two two-year mandates “the champion of the XX century has not yet arrived to the XXI century”.

The current state of the club though is one of strong development and bodes well for the future performance. Here are some current conditions:

  1. Cash position is relatively strong and the predicted outgoing cash-flow composition is well balanced between debt repayment and operating expenditures.
  2. The sources of funding are varied and growing for the coming years: game-tickets (home stadium is frequently sold out), “supporters’ club membership” fee, sponsorship, broadcasting rights, licensed products etc.
  3. The team won two major national titles in 2015 and 2016 – the cup and the league respectively.
  4. The current team is strong and the capacity to sign well-rated players is there.
  5. The infrastructure processes have been constantly adopting state of the art practices in physiology, nutrition, orthopedics, performance management, people management, recruiting of players, administrative controls etc.
  6. The brand is probably at peak level, historically speaking, and supporters’ enthusiasm and adherence grows and strengthens by the day!

So, given this internal scenario, one can surely foresee a forever successful future for Palmeiras, right? Well, obviously not, primarily because risk is inherent to any human activity. And on top of this basic condition, the fact is that the prediction would still require important measures before it could be taken at face value.

Threats recognition and comparison with the Parmalat Era
What one can say is that the current situation resembles that of a good seed that was sowed in 2013 and begun germinating. Then, it almost died in 2014, but picked up again, bore some fruits in 2015 and many more in 2016!

Now, if the current transformation Palmeiras is undergoing is like a good plant, it must be guarded against weeds and ecosystem predators that might suffocate its development. To be sure, there are many potential problems – the political one being a well-known “batrachian-plague” that haunts “Palmeiras’ garden” since late seventies.

But, apart from politicking and its agro-zoo metaphors, most threats relate to potential scarcity of cash and of resources, i.e. if the funding sources begin to dry up, consequently the infrastructure risks deteriorating, as well as does the ability to sign high level players.

So, a massive amount of effort must be concentrated on securing the club’s purchase power by protecting the current funding sources and prospecting new ones. I am sure many within the club are busy doing it.

There is one step though that seems to be overlooked and would mean a great deal to safeguard the current developments; one that doesn’t necessarily require lots of funding, whose triggering should be relatively fast and whose existence would represent a permanent defense against occasional scarcities. 

Before discussing the point, let’s briefly remember another “Palmeiras’ spring” that seemed then to foster a new age for the club, but whose promises faded with the end of the partnership that gave the period its name “the Parmalat Era”.

Then as now, we had flooding streams of cash coming in, we had star players – every year a package of new signings was a fixture in the supporters’ calendar – the team won numerous cups and championships, brand recognition and association were strong.

Then as now, hopes were high that Palmeiras would never again be “in the queue” for its turn to raise a trophy. Well, that “age” ended basically in 1999 right before the drought in titles mentioned a few paragraphs above (2000-2014) and was followed also by the humiliation of the club being relegated twice – 2002 and 2012.

The case for the knowledge management system
The point missing then, that we – “crossfingerly” – hope will not be missed this time was the skill to absorb the competencies brought in by Parmalat.

Production management, players’ selection, group management, brand exposure, budget management etc. were all processes in which Palmeiras had been behind for many years and that Parmalat exceled at.

km-elementsWe knew then that at some point, the partnership would be over and the money it brought with it would dry out. Therefore, we should have used that experience to LEARN from it and, on top of occasional financial surpluses the period could leave in its trail, the most important legacy would have been the know-how absorbed by the club,  allowing it to replicate methods and not bury itself in failures for the following 15 years.

Okay sure, now Palmeiras is investing in the infrastructure piece and considerable amounts of cash flow are guaranteed for the coming 8 years – from Globo and Esporte Interativo.

But the pressing question is: are all new practices being properly learned and documented? Are we sure that the respective competencies are being absorbed? Just as an example, we know that one of the determinants of the 2015 and 2016 titles was Football Director Alexandre Mattos’ expertise on talent search and deal negotiation; another determinant is Cicero Souza’s skill on what people call “handling the dressing room”, i.e. the people management techniques aimed at keeping players protected from problems that can distract/disunite them.

So, given their importance, are we ready for the situation of them being snatched from our pay roll? We hear/read in the great grapevine of current day – the internet – that both have recently been approached by other clubs and preferred to remain with Palmeiras. How many more attempts will be needed to get them to change their minds?

And this goes to all great professionals currently employed by Palmeiras.

The proposition here is that we build a solid knowledge management system at Palmeiras that documents all this expertise and makes it available to the hired employee of the day.

Of course, there are personality traits that will never be transferable – mostly the players’ skills and the trainers’ game plan capacities. But, there certainly are ways to make much – if not most – of knowledge currently being applied learnable and replicable by new employees.

Doing this will greatly increase Palmeiras’ capacity to make the current situation perennial and satisfy the gigantic and growing legion of Palmeiras’ supporters, avoiding that the current windfall does not turn into another “flight of the chicken”, to use a Brazilian expression.

The benefits of such an implementation are abundantly documented in the respective literature[2]. All that it takes is for Palmeiras to make the move and adopt one more innovation that will greatly enhance its capacity to make the current success perennial.

May the new president pay heed to the opportunity and lay the foundation that may make the difference for generations to come.

This is certainly my new year’s wish!


[1] Knowledge Management Audit in a Higher Educational Institution: A Case Study”. By Robert Biloslavo and Anita Trnavcevic, published in Knowledge and Process Management Vol 14 issue 4, year 2007.

[2] Two examples of recently published practical literature on the theme: “The knowledge manager’s handbook: a step by step guide to embed effective knowledge management in your organization” published in 2016 by Kogan Page; and “Designing a successful KM strategy: a guide for the KM professional” published in 2014 by Information Today.

 __ __ __

*Douglas Monaco is 57 years old, Brazilian, and the biological child of an Italian man and a Brazilian women. Early in life, Erasmo was adopted by a family of Italian descent: becoming a passionate palmeirense was definitely his destiny. Holding two university degrees (Economics and Administration), he works as project auditor for a Dutch humanitarian entity.

 __ __ __

From time to time, you will find contributions from guest writers, on a variety of topics, here at Anything Palmeiras. Feel free to leave your feedback – either directly in the comments field or contacting the author.

And if you yourself would like to contribute to Anything Palmeiras, enter in contact through anything.palmeiras (at) gmail.com.

In a year of considerable national and international turmoil, Palmeiras broke longstanding taboos to lift the 2016 Brazilian championship trophy for the first time since 1994. On 27 November, the day of the title, the Palestra Italia/Allianz Parque attendance record was broken. For the year, Palmeiras’ net revenues from ticket sales were larger than Flamengo’s and Corinthians’ combined. Palmeiras were also the first Brazilian champion finishing the tournament without a single player having been sent off.

Numbers are interesting, but difficult to present in a compelling way. Unless you have experts to help you out. Below, enjoy a little piece of art signed Rafael Klestoff, KFF Design. Thank you for the contribution, Rafael!

Happy New Year, dear readers! As always, scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

On the 27 November, I had the privilege to be in São Paulo, and at the Allianz Parque, and on Avenida Paulista, enjoying every breath of Palmeiras’ 9th League title, with my wife by my side. The buzz surrounding the stadium; the Brazilian hymn, with lyrics exchanged for “my Palmeiras” from start to finish; Fernando Prass replacing Jaílson between the posts, moments before the final whistle; the euphoria on the streets as players and supporters celebrated. It’s all here: shaky, far from professional, but exactly how I experienced it.

I get the goosebumps every time. Hope you do to.

%d bloggers like this: