Everything shrinks in proportion to Marcos’ announcing his retirement. Still, a few things from the last two weeks that went by are worth noticing.
Kassab visits the New Arena
São Paulo mayor Gilberto Kassab visited the New Arena construction site in late December together with Palmeiras president Arnaldo Tirone and representatives from the construction firm WTorre. The reason for the visit was convincing the mayor of the importance to dismiss a few bureaucratic formalities that today hinder the expansion of the planned parking lot (from a thousand to roughly three thousand parking spaces) as well as the demolition of a specific part of the old Palestra Italia stands (without going into much detail: today the New Arena is formally a “renovation”, meaning that parts of the old stadium necessarily need to remain; WTorre and Palmeiras wish to redefine the New Arena as a “new construction”).
Kassab promised to study the case and signalled that he could have it solved by February. If that if fact would happen, the final price tag will drop and the Arena could be finished up to four months ahead of schedule.
In mid November Scolari asked for “steak and shrimp” in 2012, meaning some quality players to work with. Let’s see what’s arrived on Palmeiras’ menu so far, shall we?
Marcos Paulo – the 19-year-old midfielder from São Paulo-based club Mogi Mirim will start in the Palmeiras B squad. At 1.85 and 76 kilos, the kid seems also to have a good head on his shoulders. It’ll be interesting to follow his development; good luck to him.
Juninho – the left-winger replacing Gabriel Silva (Udinese/ITA) was officially introduced to the squad on the day of Saint Marcos’ retirement. Straight from Figueirense – where he had a very good year and was elected one of the three best left-wingers in last year’s edition of the Brazilian championship – the 21-year-old from Bahia is now on a three-year contract with Palmeiras. Good luck, Juninho.
Adalberto Román – yesterday Palmeiras also confirmed that Paraguayan defender Adalberto Román is arriving. The player is currently with River Plate/ARG but found himself out in the cold after having committed a stupid penalty that sealed River’s relegation to the second division. Román will join Henrique, Leandro Amaro, Maurício Ramos and the recently promoted Wellington, occupying the place left by Thiago Heleno who underwent surgery in both his feet and will not be back until April/May. The contract is for a year, with the option of buying the economic rights of the player at the end of 2012.
Carlos Alberto – apparently everything is set for the arrival of the offensive midfielder currently belonging to Vasco da Gama but on loan to Bahia due to disciplinary problems in the Rio de Janeiro club. Carlos Alberto didn’t do too well at Bahia either, scoring no goals, making no assists and spending half of the championship in the medic’s department.
The funny thing is that the charismatic troublemaker, who in 2008 managed to get himself kicked out of São Paulo Futebol Clube, has a rather impressive CV: in 2004 he won the Portuguese League and the Champions League with FC Porto under José Mourinho before moving back to Brazil and becoming Brazilian champion with Corinthians in 2005. He also won the Brazil Cup with Fluminense in 2007.
Carlos Alberto is 27 years old and certainly an above average footballer when he sets his mind to it. The question is: will he? He might. Who knows he finds joy side by side with Valdivia in 2012. Details on his contract have not been made public, but if the price is right it could be worth a shot, although it’s a long shot indeed.
— ooo —
What bothers me is not so much Carlos Alberto himself, although I do consider him a high risk investment and potentially dangerous for the social environment of any football club. No, it’s the procedure of getting to him that drives me crazy. Would you believe me if I told you that Palmeiras’ director of football Frizzo was chatting away with an old friend in the interior of the state of São Paulo and this friend told him about this other friend, who is a pastor, who had spoken well of Carlos Alberto due to knowing him from church? Frizzo started pushing buttons and shortly after meeting with Carlos Alberto face to face decided to go ahead and contract him (no wait, I’m being unfair: apparently, Frizzo also called his son to check his reaction). End of story.
My friend Ivan Fadel gave me this book, “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis, and it’s currently serving as my bedtime literature. The book tells the story of how science and statistics revolutionised baseball in the USA. Today, and in any sport, the tools available to thoroughly analyze every game component, every player, every kind of strategy can be backed up by tons of data. And should be. The competitive edge that knowledge provides is priceless, especially in times when even mid-range coaches and players are demanding US$ 200.000/month pay checks.
At Palmeiras, Frizzo the football director picks up any player nominated by a friend of a friend…
I don’t know how, I don’t know when, but AVANTI PALESTRA.