Palmeiras are “flying low”, as one would say in Portuguese: nine victories and one draw in the last ten rounds of the Brasileirão, with five straight wins, the last two against Paraná and, yesterday, Joinville.
Paraná proved a hard nut, as expected, but before a 30.000 strong crowd at the Pacaembu, Palmeiras were able to turn the tables even after suffering an early own goal. Paraná have the so far strongest defence in the division, and naturally closed up even further after the goal. In the second half, Palmeiras turned the pressure up and dismantled Paraná piece by piece. Valdivia and especially Wesley shone.
An amusing storm in a water glass followed, as SporTV journalist André Rizek fumed over Valdivia’s not only obvious but explicit and successful strategy to receive a third booking: Valdivia had been called up for the Chilean national squad and took the opportunity to clean his sheet as he thus wouldn’t be at coach Kleina’s disposal for the following game against Joinville. Rizek practically begged the laughable Supreme Sports Tribunal (STJD) to look into the case, he himself conveniently overlooking the fact that what Valdivia did has been done since the dawning of football. Curious how certain things turn big only because Palmeiras are involved; can’t remember Rizek opening his mouth last year when Corinthians coach Tite confirmed that he had ordered Paulinho to do exactly the same trickster manoeuvre.
In the end, Valdivia didn’t play for the national team: he was diagnosed with muscular fatigue and ordered a rest by the Chilean doctor. Most likely he won’t face Paysandu later this week, only returning for the Brazil Cup game against Atlético Paranaense next week, if properly recovered. Fingers crossed: Mendieta was taken off the pitch yesterday after a blow to the thigh and Palmeiras need at least one of the two in good shape for next week’s important appointment.
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Yesterday, in the state of Santa Catarina and mostly under rain, Palmeiras beat Joinville 1-0. It wasn’t that much to write home about, but again, Wesley proved important on the pitch and, as soon as he walked off it, reconfirmed how satisfied he is at Palmeiras, that he wishes to stay but that his future’s in God’s hands. The quite massive campaigning online (there’s even a website calling for Wesley’s stay), Wesley’s own statements and the player’s growing tactical and technical importance for the team might prove enough for Palmeiras to dismiss a loan proposal from Atlético Mineiro for the remainder of the year that reportedly includes salaries and some US$ 2.6 million. Remembering that Palmeiras only consider letting a player of Wesley’s calibre go due to the still very strained financial reality of the club: the Nobre administration is yet to announce a major sponsor and costs are cut wherever they can be found.
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Speaking of the Nobre administration: on twitter Anything Palmeiras launched a very modest poll a few days back with the intention to roughly verify a hypothesis: that the personal profile (or life philosophy, if you so which) of those most fiercely opposing the Nobre administration primarily reflects a day-by-day approach, persons who are impulsive and seek to maximise gains. On the other hand, Nobre supporters would be the opposite: at large careful planners who seek to minimise risks.
The poll was a resounding failure. 45% of votes were cast on the “live to the max, support Nobre” option; 50% on the “plan carefully, support Nobre” option; and 5% on the “live to the max, don’t support Nobre” option. No votes were cast for the “plan carefully, don’t support Nobre” option. In other words: the support for Nobre was equally divided between the impulsive and the planners. And, which is worse: only Nobre supporters bothered to answer the poll.
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World celebrity Bruce Buffer was recently in Brazil launching his book: a take on the backstage of the UFC mixed martial arts circus. A buffer fan took the opportunity to hand him a gift: a retro Palmeiras jersey. Buffer seemed delighted and expressed his appreciation for Brazilian women and now, also, for Palmeiras. Welcome to the family, Bruce. Before you know it, you’ll be shouting…
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!