Palmeiras initiated the season as good as could be asked: three points away against tricky Bragantino in the opening game of the São Paulo Championship. Although none of the two teams presented brilliant football, at least three players stood out from the rest: Cicinho – very strong offensively but less so when in defense (and responsible for the penalty resulting in the Bragantino equaliser); Bruno – excellent performance between the posts, showing he’s back to give Deola a fight for the position as regular starter; and Valdivia – all over the place and in great form, el Mago showed that taking it easy during the holidays and the investment he made in a small, home gym paid off. Watch the highlights below.
Last Monday the team started preparing for tomorrow’s game against Portuguesa. Forward Hernán Barcos participated in the training session before having even signed the contract with Palmeiras (he’s expected to sign today or tomorrow) and should be formally presented on Friday. Barcos is obviously not playing tomorrow and neither is centre-back Román, awaiting his working permit to go through. Vinícius is recovering from a strained ankle. In compensation, João Vitor and Deola are ready for play.
Tomorrow mark’s Marcos Assunção’s 100th game in the Palmeiras jersey. The midfielder arrived in May 2010 and has been a wonder of consistency despite his 35 years of age: he’s been out of only 15 games since arriving, has scored a total of 21 goals and was awarded the Silver Ball trophy by football magazine “Placar” for his achievements last season.
Another piece of good news: left-footed midfielder Pedro Carmona, who arrived at Palmeiras in mid 2011, is staying at least throughout 2012. The permanence of the player was made possible due to a generous salary raise; Carmona received a very attractive offer from Japan but Palmeiras were able to counter-attack. Hopefully Carmona will repay the investment by turning into the player everyone was expecting to see already in 2011.