Less than a week ago, Mr Valdir Joaquim de Morais, one of the most respected living legends of Palmeiras, announced that he will no longer work at the club. The former goalkeeper, at the age of 80, alleged personal motifs for leaving his position as consultant.
Mr Valdir was born in Porto Alegre in 1931 and was in 1958 he was graced with the mission to replace legendary Oberdan Cattani, who retired in 1954. This was the beginning of a beautiful career: with Palmeiras Mr Valdir was crowned Brazilian champion three times, champion of the now extinct Rio-São Paulo tournament once and three times São Paulo champion – 1959, 1963 and 1966 – a time when only Palmeiras could stop Santos and Pelé. In total, Mr Valdir played 482 games for Palmeiras between 1958 and 1969 in what came to be known as “The First Academy”.
Mr Valdir stands only 1.70 meters tall but compensated this during his playing career with impeccable physical dedication, tremendous technique and superior knowledge of the game. These qualities combined propelled Mr Valdir, after retiring from the pitch, into exercising a pioneer activity that today is copied by everyone: the trainer of goalkeepers. At Palmeiras, he participated in the preparation of great keepers like Leão, Zetti, Velloso, Sérgio and Marcos.
During the years Mr Valdir has been coming and going at Palmeiras but also integrated the technical department at others clubs in addition to being part of Brazil’s 1982 World Cup delegation in Spain. Below, a few pictures from Mr Valdir’s rich career (all three courtesy of Verdazzo!), in order left to right: Palmeiras representing Brazil in 1965; in 1996 with Marcos; and in 2008, hailed by supporters.
Thank you for all years of dedication, Mr Valdir! Don’t be a stranger!
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The truly, TRULY observant of you will have noticed some minor changes to the Palmeiras badge as featured on the official home page. The letters in the word “Palmeiras” have been better angled and centred; the letter “P” inside the shield has been made more symmetrical and now corresponds better to the original “P” in the first club badges; and the thin lines behind the “P” have gone from 14 (possibly a reference to the year of foundation) to 26 (a definitive tribute to the day of foundation, 26 August), thus highlighting the white “P” by giving it a stronger background. Click on the image below for a better view of the details (again, courtesy of Verdazzo!).
The corrections are absolutely minor but welcome. One could however contemplate if the club’s upcoming 100th anniversary would call for a thorough debate about the badge and the possibility of making substantial changes to it, marking the start of a new century, a new era.
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Luan’s medical exams are conclusive: the striker will need surgery in his foot due to a stress-related bone injury. The operation has been scheduled for tomorrow afternoon and Luan will need at least ten weeks to recover. These are good news, in a quirky way: Luan has been feeling discomfort for some time and a permanent solution is welcome. Also, quite a few supporters think Scolari needs a “helping hand” in testing out players that could replace Luan in the starting eleven; if that’s your take Luan’s forced absence certainly comes at the right moment.
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Then there’s the Wesley negotiations. The player is in Brazil with his personal manager and Palmeiras, the player and Werder Bremen are all in apparent agreement. Palmeiras have until Friday to put together the financing package and pay the first instalment out of three of €2 million. Some people are getting really nervous due to the delay in announcing the signing of the midfielder, seen as the final piece in the Palmeiras puzzle anno 2012. While the directors are working away, we can do nothing but wait and see. Personally, I find it hard to believe in a negative outcome at this late stage, especially considering the anticipated enthusiasm everyone expressed with the possible arrival of Wesley.
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Anything Palmeiras will take a short break over carnival; expect no post until the end of next week (except perhaps for a line or two confirming or – God forbid – not confirming the signing of Wesley). Até logo, amigos!