No, it wasn’t the start of the Brazilian Championship we were dreaming off, drawing with Atlético’s rotation squad at the Allianz Parque. But Palmeiras were not in their full splendour either: forwards Leandro Pereira and Cristaldo injured, midfielders Arouca and Cleiton Xavier likewise. Nothing serious in any of the cases, but the impact was nevertheless felt as coach Oswaldo failed to provide solutions: in the absence of Arouca, Gabriel was overburdened; Robinho – pulled back – disappeared; Gabriel Jesus was of little use with his back constantly against the goal. Palmeiras frittered passes like we haven’t seen so far in 2015, while Atlético Mineiro seemed much more focused. In the end, the draw – Palmeiras finding the equalizer in the very last seconds of the came – could be considered a fair result. And a bit of a relief.
Yesterday was the first time Gabriel Jesus played the full 90 minutes. Expectations are still high regarding the future of the kid, but perhaps more realistic: he’s had his opportunities but not yet scored and the adaption from the U20 to the major league is taking time. Coach Oswaldo has been devoting special attention to Jesus, often having him stay a bit longer after regular training to work on positioning and finishing touches.
Yesterday also marked the debut of left-defender Egídio. The long-awaited paperwork finally arrived from Ukraine on Friday, just in time for Palmeiras to have him registered and in playing condition ahead of Saturday’s game. Egídio came on in the second half and looked good: I expect him to enter the starting eleven already coming week, either displacing Zé Roberto toward the middle or, more likely, alternating the bench with the veteran.
Speaking of veterans: Palmeiras this week finally reached an agreement to end the contract with centre-back Lúcio, who ever since the end of 2014 has been receiving his wages, although not anymore part of the working squad. The former World Champion has been negotiating with clubs from China and Australia, but without reaching a conclusion. After 47 games and two games for the Verdão, the club and athlete now part ways.
While some depart, others arrive. Palmeiras on Thursday announced having reached an agreement with 29-year-old attacking midfielder Fellype Gabriel, who started his career at Flamengo. The player has previously worked with coach Oswaldo both at Botafogo and Japanese club Kashima Antlers. Fellype’s arrival is one more indication that Palmeiras are preparing for a post-Valdivia experience.
— ooo —
For months, Palmeiras and Adidas have been negotiating a new agreement, Palmeiras always making clear they are open to new proposals from competitors. And proposals have indeed arrived – the most interesting one from Puma – forcing Adidas to step up its game. Paulo Nobre has recently expressed optimism a new agreement will be reached with Adidas, and leaked photos of a supposedly new Palmeiras jersey, made by Adidas, reinforce the impression. I wouldn’t be surprised if a new agreement is announced within a week or two, where the former R$ 10 million/year (US$ 3.3 million) agreement has been substantially boosted, perhaps reaching R$ 15 million or more. After all, only a handful of teams in the world sell more Adidas jerseys than Palmeiras.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!