Small shockwaves rippled through parts of the Brazilian football world today as news arrived that Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman until further notice had removed midfielder Alex from the squad. Only hours later, Alex himself confirmed on twitter that his time at Fener had indeed come to a full stop:
“Contract Revoked! Thank you all Turks for your affection during these 8 years. One more phase concluded. Thank you, everyone at Fenerbahçe” read the message posted in Portuguese. And in Turkish: “I have ended my contract. It was the saddest signature of my life. Fenerbahçe has lost a player, but has won a supporter. Thanks for everything.” The lines signal the exit of one of the greatest Fenerbahçe idols of all times: club captain since 2007, Alex played a total of 325 games and scored 164 times for Fener, winning three National Championships, two Turkish Super Cups and one National Cup. He leaves the club only weeks after having received a statue in his honour.
Alex’s return to Brazilian football seems eminent. He’s previously and clearly stated that Coritiba is the club in his heart and where he intends to end his career. He’s also stated that other clubs where he has made an impact – i.e. Palmeiras and Cruzeiro – always will have his attention.
As soon as the news were out, Palmeiras’ manager of football César Sampaio sprung into action: “It’s an excellent player, I just learnt about the revoking of his contract”, he told journalists. “We know how he his bonded with Palmeiras. Without a doubt, an athlete like him doesn’t stay without a job for long. We must talk with the president, the vice-president, with Gilson Kleina to see how we proceed. I think he’s a player who would contribute greatly, independently of which players are in the squad”.
So, what are the real chances of having Alex once again wearing the Palmeiras jersey? There are two crucial factors:
1) How does Alex feel about his retirement? Well, if he’s considering only one or two more seasons in activity, he’ll sign with Coritiba and end his career there. Pronto. Now, if Alex pictures himself having a few more good years in him, he might seriously consider playing for another team before finishing off his career at Coxa.
2) How does Alex feel about playing in the Brazilian second division? Not great, one must assume. Still, the scenario must be taken into account, as both Coritiba and Palmeiras are today serious candidates for relegation. Personally, I can see Alex doing it as one last sacrifice for Coritiba, but I can’t really see him doing it for Palmeiras, even with the Libertadores Cup as a deal sweetener.
Now, speaking of sweeteners: in addition to the Libertadores Cup, Palmeiras will in 2013 inaugurate the New Arena. Also, the 2014 centennial’s just around the corner. Thus there are many a great moment to look forward to; who wouldn’t want to be part of that?
Conclusion: IF Alex is not considering an early retirement and IF Palmeiras escape relegation, I’d say we stand a more than decent chance of having Alex back in our ranks as of 2013. Provided our directors don’t screw things up, that is. Stay tuned.