The early definitions of head coach and priority reinforcement of the squad gave Palmeiras conditions to kick of the year in better shape than in a long time. After four rounds of the São Paulo championship, out of the 16 teams, only Palmeiras have a perfect score, having played Santo André (3-1); Botafogo (0-1); Red Bull Brasil (2-1) and Bragantino (0-2). On Sunday, an opponent of somewhat larger calibre awaits at the Allianz Parque in the shape of our playmaker Lucas Lima’s former club, Santos. Should be a great game to watch, with offensive football in abundance.
A few weeks back, we considered the Palmeiras squad readily assembled, informing that any additional newcomer, like Gustavo Scarpa, would materialize only should a particularly interesting opportunity arise. And so it did. The Brazilian judiciary freed Scarpa from his contract with Fluminense due to the Rio de Janeiro club’s non-fulfilment of contractual obligations and the attacking midfielder’s sudden availability on the market caused a fervour. With offers to pick and choose, Scarpa, like so many other quality players as of recent, opted to embark on the Green wagon, thrilled by the opportunity to play for Brazil’s currently most well-structured and realistically ambitious club. Scarpa signed a five-year contract a couple of weeks ago and should make his debut in our jersey mid-February. Welcome, Gustavo!
While Palmeiras supporters rejoice with the consistent and meticulous construction of what, at least on paper, looks like a very strong title contender for 2018 and beyond, the Brazilian press seems less impressed. Although not even 14% of the club’s revenues last year originated from FAM/Crefisa, frequently Palmeiras are portrayed as “dependent on the sponsor”, an hostage even. In addition, smear and debauchery are launched on a daily basis against Palmeiras’ financial health, as if the club was miles ahead of everybody else (in fact, Flamengo top the revenues table, Palmeiras being the runners-up, closely followed by another two or three clubs). Palmeiras have a too qualified a squad, Palmeiras provoke unbalance in Brazilian football, Palmeiras lock the transfer market, Palmeiras’ sponsor deals yield too much (never mind Flamengo and Corinthians receive even larger additional amounts due to individually negotiated broadcasting rights), the list of complaints goes on and on.
It’s all bull, and the more of it we hear, the more we can be certain Palmeiras are on the right track. Brazilian press stopped caring about objectivity long ago, and that certainly includes many a sports journalist wearing a team jersey under the dress shirt like second skin. Keep on bashing you lot, we can take it. Expect return, with interest, in the shape of titles and more titles.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!