Today, the Palmeiras squad returned from the end-of-the-year holidays, and with the seven new members you learnt about in the previous post: Erik, Régis, Edu Dracena, Moisés, Vagner, Roger Carvalho and Rodrigo. All players in the squad underwent medical exams, and Dracena was officially presented, handed the number 3 that previously belonged to Victor Ramos. “My goal is to become a World Champion, and I hope to achieve that here at Palmeiras”, the strongly merited 34-year-old declared. “Pulling on this jersey is a very big challenge, and I like challenges”, he concluded.
Centre-back Jackson was absent, back in Porto Alegre, as Palmeiras and Internacional were unable to reach an agreement in regards to the transfer sum. In addition, Rafael Marques was missing, although Palmeiras still nurture hope, expecting the Chinese to voice a final decision by the end of this week. Regardless of Rafael Marques staying or not, Alexandre Mattos, in principle, considers the squad as complete: additional players will only arrive “if an opportunity arises”, as he puts it. I translate that into one or two additional strong names to join the squad this season.
Many Palmeiras players were on loan to other clubs in 2015, but out of those returning, only centre-back Thiago Martins and left-back Victor Luis are expected to integrate the squad: the rest will boomerang out again.
Tomorrow Thursday, the squad heads out to Itu for ten days of training camp before travelling to Uruguay for a friendly mini-tournament with an additional three teams: locals Nacional and Peñarol, and Paraguayan Libertad.
The São Paulo state championship debut is against Botafogo/SP on Saturday 30 January. The first Libertadores Cup game takes place on 16 February, either against Universidad de Chile or River Plate (from Uruguay). More on that in an upcoming post.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!