Palmeiras yesterday announced the signing of what probably is the last important piece of the 2019 squad: 27-year-old striker Ricardo Goulart comes on a one-year loan and has coach Luiz Felipe Scolari’s full approval – at Guangzhou Evergrande, in China, the duo worked together for three seasons, bagging seven titles.
Goulart is Palmeiras’ sixth signing for 2019 and the most anticipated. The striker, currently in the final phases of recovery from a knee injury, will be the best paid player in Brazilian football: of the roughly R$ 3 million a month (US$ 800.000) pay check, Palmeiras will provide 20% (in line with the club’s salary cap), with the remaining 80% coming from Guangzhou, with whom Goulart has a contract until December 2020. Should Palmeiras wish to have Goulart permanently as of 2020, the loan agreement stipulates the purchase price: somewhere around R$ 42 million (US$ 11 million).
Goulart himself seems more than pleased. Both player and family have had their minds on returning to Brazil for some time, and in addition to the forward’s excellent relationship with Felipão, he also nourishes a strong bond with Director of Football Alexandre Mattos: the two worked together at Cruzeiro in 2013-2014 and were fundamentally important for the Belo Horizonte club’s Brazilian championship back-to-back titles.
“I’m very happy, and grateful for the effort made by Palmeiras. I’m now wearing this jersey, which has a beautiful history. I expect to be very happy here” Goulart said to TV Palmeiras, before concluding “There will be no lack of dedication, I’m going give it my best on the pitch. No effort spared”.
With Felipão in charge of Guangzhou, Goulart played 129 matches, scored 82 times and provided 43 assists. The impressive numbers earned him important individual awards, such as top scorer and MVP of the 2015 Asian Champions League of 2015 and the 2016 Chinese Championship. Felipão used to set up Guangzhou in a 4-2-3-1, with Goulart as the central attacking midfielder, right behind the centre-forward: a position giving him mobility, opportunity to fetch the ball lower down the field, carry or pass it into the box and conclude. The position is currently occupied primarily by Lucas Lima, who however is more of a playmaker. Goulart can also occupy a playmaker position, or even as centre-forward. Goulart should be at Scolari’s disposal by end of February. Our coach has options a plenty to work with.
Welcome, Ricardo! Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!