Better find that healing potion…

Last Wednesday Palmeiras played poorly against Paulista and especially Valdivia hung his head. One could tell something wasn’t right with our little magician on this night of Wesley’s debut and striker Vinícius perhaps last shot at fame and fortune (didn’t work, by the way). In the end, Palmeiras maintained a grip on the top three positions after a late and solitary goal by João Vítor. Highlights below.

Valdivia was taken off the pitch in the second half, not feeling very well and in pain. Turns out a new muscular injury has been detected in his left thigh, probably something similar to the one he suffered against Santos in February. Although this one has been classified as “minor”, it will still keep him away from the pitch for an estimated 30 days. 2012 is already starting to resemble 2011. Worse, in fact.

I could start feeding you data and statistics, number of games played, performance… But I won’t. We don’t need to crunch numbers in order to see how dramatically little Valdivia has contributed to Palmeiras ever since his return to the club in 2010. And we’re talking about none other than the most expensive player in the squad, loved by many palmeirenses and hated by rival supporters for his irreverent and provocative ways.

I’m in no position to judge to what extension (if at all) Valdivia’s behaviour off the pitch is contributing to his frequent injuries. Neither do I have the tools to look inside his head, although he seems motivated enough to me. But something’s not right. Can it be fixed? Impossible to tell unless we have the right diagnosis. Which we might never have.

A personal reflection: we’re approaching the end of the line and Palmeiras and Valdivia will soon part. The cost/benefit just isn’t anywhere close to what’s needed for Palmeiras to sustain a player like El Mago for much longer. Patience will start running thin, independently of who’s to blame for the frequent injuries, Valdivia’s poor performance and his apparently endless streak of bad luck. It’s a shame, it really is. Valdivia has bonded with Palmeiras and the supporters; the supporters have bonded with him. I hope I’m proven wrong. I really do.

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