Training intensifies as Palmeiras prepare for a decisive sequel of games against traditionally strong adversaries, starting with Fluminense away this Sunday, then São Paulo (H), Grêmio (A), Flamengo (H) and Corinthians (A). No better time for players to return from the medical department: defensive midfielders Arouca and Gabriel are recovered, as well as centre-back Yerry Mina. With Gabriel Jesus back from the Olympic Games, the squad is again nearly complete: Lucas Barrios will need another 10-14 days and, of course, there is Fernando Prass, out for the remainder of the year.
Fernando Prass this week kicked off his physiotherapy sessions. Although he is not defending Palmeiras on the pitch, his day-to-day presence at the club and during the games have been inspirational. Prass himself seems motivated enough, recognising the hard work that lies ahead but assuring he will return stronger and better than ever.
Gabriel Jesus also seems focused, in spite of all the attention deriving from his spell at the Seleção. Still top scorer in the league, even after a sex games absence, yesterday Jesus stated that he loves the club and that it would be a dream to wrap up the season as Brasileirão champion. He assured he would not shy away from any situation on or off the pitch.
Luan, the one and only, has joined Atlético Paranaense for the remainder of the year. Palmeirenses hardly believed the announcement and now rejoice, intensively wishing for the forward’s success at Atlético. After all, the paranaenses might put in an offer by the end of the year, allowing Palmeiras to recover some of the loss.
Speaking of Atlético Paranaense: during the away game on 15 August, cameras caught an Atlético supporter directing a torrent of racist abuse toward Tchê Tchê. Palmeiras quickly issued a statement, in the strongest language condemning the act and supporting the player in whatever action he might chose to take. The Supreme Tribunal of Sports has been made aware of the crime. Tchê Tchê himself seems inclined to letting the whole thing go. From Atlético Paranaense, not a word.
Tomorrow, 26 August, the Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras celebrates its 102nd birthday. Anything Palmeiras urges each one of you, near or far, to pull on your favourite Palmeiras jersey and wear it with more than average pride on Friday: may this year’s Tsunami Verde be a rehearsal of another celebration due in a little less than four months’ time!
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!