The long awaited transfer was sealed yesterday, as Al Ahli sent the confirmation fax, allowing Bruno César to put pen to paper. Al Ahli were actually prolonging negotiations a fair bit, expecting other clubs to show interest, but Bruno César made it very clear he wanted Palmeiras and nothing else. The midfielder even accepted a 50% salary reduction and has, as all newcomers, adhered to the new productivity contract model. At the end of the year, Palmeiras have the option to buy, with the price fixed in the contract: €5 million. Very good reinforcement, this one. Can’t wait to see his debut.
Speaking of debuts: Palmeiras opened the season last Saturday against Linense in the São Paulo Cup with a 2-1 victory, goals by Mazinho and Alan Kardec. Serginho on the right flank, and with França’s debut in the middle of the second half. Highlights below.
Then, last Thursday, we had Lúcio’s debut in the away game against Comercial. The experienced centre-back was in the starting eleven and played the full 90 minutes, showing he’s ready for whatever might come. Palmeiras killed the game in the first half, with Juninho and Wesley on the scorecard in halftime (Serginho should have been there too hadn’t the lineswoman incorrectly called an offside). Second half was all about control, with the heat at +30 degrees Celsius. Highlights below.
The launch was originally scheduled for the 30 January, but we already have official pictures of Palmeiras’ jersey for 2014. Rather restrained, I’d say. In any case, Palmeiras and Adidas will be launching other, commemorative jersey during the year.
In addition, Palmeiras will next week launch the Família Palmeiras, a sort of fidelity programme that will distribute points to participants. Details to follow.
Remember we highlighted the performance of left-back Matheus Muller during the recent Sub20 competitions? Well, he was called up for the Sub20 National squad ahead of a friendly against the Mexican Sub21 happening tomorrow Sunday. Keep up the good work and good things will happen. Avanti, Matheus!
Also our team captain Henrique has had searchlights on him, but of a different kind: Italian club Napoli are looking at reinforcing their defensive sector. It’s not the first time they try to snatch Henrique, but timing couldn’t be worse: we’re in Palmeiras’ centenary, with the World Cup coming up (and Henrique stands a chance, although remote, to be called up by Scolari), and with the inauguration of the Allianz Parque only months away. Henrique has made it very clear: he wishes to stay at Palmeiras. But Palmeiras might want to sell if the price is right. If indeed a deal is reached with Napoli, it’d better be the deal of the century; that or Nobre/Brunoro be prepared for a storm of protests.
While we’re on the topic of transfers: Palmeiras have signed a pre-agreement with Bruninho, a defensive midfielder from Portuguesa. The 21-year-old, by most considered quite the promising player, is free to sign with other teams and would come to Palmeiras for free. Seems like the club is willing to offer him a longer contract, four years. If confirmed, he’ll be joining the squad in the window between the state championships and this year’s Brazilian Championship.
Without a doubt, of all major clubs Palmeiras have signed the most and best so far. Certainly other club directors are scratching their heads, looking our way, contemplating a thing or two.
Copa do Brasil
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) this week launched dates and places for the first round of the Brazil Cup. Palmeiras will travel to the state of Rondônia, playing against the team of Vilhena on 12 March. An away victory by two or more goals, and the Verdão eliminate the need for a return game.
Tomorrow Sunday, Palmeiras play Atlético Sorocaba in the third round of the Paulistão. Aiming for the third straight win, coach Kleina has called up Valdivia to integrate the squad. With Bruno César in direct competition for the spot as playmaker, Valdivia better stay sharp.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!