Today Saturday, the 2014 edition of the Brazilian Championship – the Brasileirão – kicks off. Main news portal G1 ranks Palmeiras 8th among the 20 teams in the competition, behind Cruzeiro, Internacional, São Paulo FC, Botafogo, Corinthians, Grêmio and Santos. G1 gives Palmeiras a score of 30 based on their assessment of our squad, retrospect, finances, focus, home advantage and momentum, and concludes our goal would be to fight for a spot in the top four, which would reward us with a spot in the Libertadores Cup.
Talk to players in our squad like Lúcio and Bruno César, they’ll tell you to take that rating and shove it. We’re aiming for the title, they’ll have you know. And damn right they are: Palmeiras are Palmeiras, always aiming for the title. Starting away, against Criciúma, this Sunday.
Actually, out of the nine games Palmeiras will play in the Brasileirão before the month-long break due to the World Cup in June, seven will happen far from home: five away games and two that Palmeiras are forced to move to the interior of the state due to Pacaembu being unavailable for a full month ahead of the WC.
In any case, it’s great to see some fighting spirit in the squad, although the squad in itself certainly has limits. The urgent need for a right-back to compete with Wendel and a centre-forward to back up Kardec has been mentioned numerous times. And there’s no natural substitute for Valdivia either. Palmeiras need to get Kardec’s signature on paper (no, the deal isn’t closed yet), sign a player or two of the handful that stood out during the Paulista championship (centre-back Salles of Ituano seems a no-brainer, but we haven’t seen the asking price), and, while the UNBELIEVABLEY dragged out financial imbroglio involving (the lack of) a Master Sponsor plays out, observe the youth academy.
Kleina has been doing the latter and earlier this week promoted two of them to the first team: 19-year-old centre-back Gabriel Dias and 21-year-old forward Chico (in the picture, Chico is the shorter one, with Dias on his left). Good calls by Kleina as far as I’m concerned. Dias also extended his contract with Palmeiras for another two seasons.
— ooo —
Luis Felipe is less pleased. The right-back is bitching about Palmeiras refusing every offer and being unreasonable. Not playing and training in separate from the rest of the squad must surely be a pain. I guess he should have considered that before trying to extort three times his salary after a typo was discovered in his renewed contract.
— ooo —
Legendary Oberdan Cattani, the only man still alive having played for Palestra Italia, underwent heart surgery earlier this week. The 94-year-old former keeper’s condition is stable and he’s currently remaining under observation at the Hospital Bandeirantes, central São Paulo. Anything Palmeiras wishes Oberdan a speedy recovery.
— ooo —
Finishing off with a piece of news that might make you laugh. Or cry. Or, most likely, both.
Former Palmeiras president Arnaldo Tirone on Monday attended a book launch paying homage to Djalma Santos. Djalma Santos, one of the best right-backs of all times and one of the biggest legends of S.E. Palmeiras, with 498 games in the green jersey. Djalma Santos, who passed away nine months ago, at the age of 84, due to cardiac arrest.
Arrives Arnaldo Tirone. When approached by journalists upon entering the room, he dodges them by saying “later, later, first I must find Djalma and shake his hand”.
True story. All further comments unnecessary.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!