Triumph #500 around the corner
Against Avaí last Sunday, Palmeiras reached their 499th victory in the history of the Brazilian Championship, the Brasileirão. The historic 500th victory will hopefully come this Sunday in the away clash with Ceará, in the city of Fortaleza.
Ever since the Brazilian Championship started in 1959, Palmeiras have won 499 games (45,74%), drawn 311 times (28,51%) and lost 281 games (25,76%). There have been a total of 1.091 games played, 1.628 goals scored and 1.163 suffered by the Verdão.
Milkman knocking on the door
Tonight, Maikon Leite (literarily, “milk”) plays his last game for Santos: nothing less than the final in the Libertadores Cup against Uruguayan side Peñarol. On Friday at noon he arrives at Palmeiras’ training centre and will be officially announced.
As tomorrow is a holiday, it’s unlikely that Palmeiras get all papers in order for Maikon to pull on the team jersey already on Sunday – not that this should be bothering Scolari; I’m sure he prefers to observe the players for at least a week and see how he interacts with his new teammates. In addition, Maikon might need a few days’ rest to recover from the exhausting last couple of months at Santos.
In good shape
And speaking of recovery: the physique of Palmeiras’ squad is one of the highlights so far in the Brasileirão. Numbers show how Palmeiras often are superior in the second half, especially in the last 15-20 minutes of the game, keeping the pressure up on the opponent and scoring late goals. Part of this is due to the work carried out by nutritionist Alessandra Favano, who has contributed significantly in terms of recovering athletes after hard sessions of training and matches. In addition to the personalised diet each and every player follows, Favano has during the last month measured how much each player looses after training sessions and games. She found out that there are great differences between athletes and concluded that also the rehydration process and the amount of isotonic given needed to be individually calibrated. The results are already visible and Favano expects even better performance in the months to come as her formula for each player gains in accuracy.
In a week that could and should have been calm and positive due to the excellent performance last Sunday, most headlines were about the storm in a drinking glass that was the Kleber/Tirone/Flamengo incident. In short: Palmeiras received an offer from Flamengo for Kleber. Palmeiras president Tirone said that he wouldn’t want Kleber to leave, that Kleber was important for Palmeiras, and bla bla bla. In the end of the interview, he also commented that “at Palmeiras, Kleber has his space; perhaps he wouldn’t have the same space if going to Flamengo”. A journalist jumped on this and asked Kleber, directly after the 5-0 win against Avaí, to comment on Tirone’s statement (obviously, only mentioning that last part of the interview). Kleber, the hothead he is, reacted by lamenting that Tirone seemed to appreciate him so little and concluded that if Flamengo had the money and made an offer, he would study it as the professional he is.
It’s now been three days of tension. Scolari has strongly declared that Kleber stays no matter what. Also Tirone has reinforced that Kleber is essential for Palmeiras. And today, also Kleber publicly stated that his intention is to end his career at Palmeiras; that he is happy at the club and wishes to stay. Enough? Not nearly. Part of supporters already see him as a mercenary, some even want his head already. Go figure. Palmeiras is nothing less than a bee hive in constant movement. I for one surely think that the issue, which shouldn’t have been one in the first place, is more than done with.