Saturday we got a first glimpse of Palmeiras anno 2015. Although a few pieces were missing on the pitch – most notably Valdivia, Dudu, Kelvin, Robinho and Arouca – what we saw is more than enough to fuel aspirations. With less than two weeks of training, the starting eleven was an interesting combination of youth and routine, players aggressive and on their toes, most of them seemingly at ease and confident. Newcomers Zé Roberto, Amaral, Gabriel, Lucas, Leandro Pereira… They all elevated the quality, individually and collectively. The usual sighs, at least from my part, were directed toward Mendieta and Maikon Leite – two players that have little place in this reformulated squad, if you ask me. Oswaldo de Oliveira’s job to either shut me up or prove me right by giving their transfers the green light.
The game was entertaining and bore little resemblance to a traditional friendly: Palmeiras were pepped, wanting their first victory at the Allianz Parque. And there it was 3-1, after goals from Leandro Pereira, Lucas and Cristaldo. Highlights below.
In the second half, Oswaldo made eleven substitutions. Well, actually 12: Mouche was injured and carried off after only a few minutes on the pitch. Unfortunately, he tore a ligament in his right knee and will need surgery: he’s only expected back in six month’s time. You will remember Leandro had foot surgery last week. The need for a numerous squad is obvious. Anything Palmeiras wishes Mouche, who already has been receiving a lot of support via social media, a speedy recovery.
Coming Saturday Palmeiras are expected to play one last friendly before the Paulistão kicks off. Opponent to be confirmed.
— ooo —
Mattos isn’t done. Palmeiras have confirmed the signing of 24-year-old centre-back Jackson. He comes as a one-year loan from Internacional of Porto Alegre. From the stands, the defender watched the friendly against Shandong, radiating excitement with the year to come.
A 16th signing may be announced soon: 21-year-old offensive midfielder/winger Ryder Matos. Originating from Vitória’s youth academy, Matos was picked up by Italian club Fiorentina already at the age of 14 and was envisioned a tremendous career, a “Brazilian Messi” of sorts. Initially corresponding to expectations, years went by and things didn’t quite work out as planned. In 2012-2013, Fiorentina placed Matos at Bahia, where he played in the junior leagues. In 2014 he was back in Europe, this time on loan to Córdoba of Spain. He hardly entered the pitch. A new one-year loan, now at Palmeiras, seems to be his destiny. The Verdão‘s director of football seems to believe the kid still has a future: the draft contract stipulates the price in case Palmeiras wish to purchase Matos by the end of the year.
— ooo —
Although the words “Master Sponsor” make me nauseous, a deal is apparently close, either with an electronics manufacturer or a national financial institution. “Announcement before the end of the month”, they say. Have we heard that before… Reportedly, the deal corresponds to some 10% of Palmeiras’ total expected revenues in 2015: a rather low percentage due to a) Paulo Nobre having finally understood that in this day and age, few are ready to pump US$ 10 million into a Brazilian football club, and b) the overall increase in expected revenues for Palmeiras this year, mainly boosted by the growth of the Avanti supporter membership programme (more on this later) and increased ticket revenues, making the master sponsor deal comparatively less important.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!