One year ago, Big Phil arrived at Palmeiras rather discredited, having spent a successful but long time in China. During his first meeting with the press, he showed that he, as one of the few, still understood the palmeirense soul.
His history as a coach suggested knockout tournaments would be the priority, but as the rounds of the Brazilian Championship went by, no team could defeat the soon to be champions and Palmeiras bagged the 2018 title with record-breaking numbers. Felipão’s redemption was successfully completed.
2019 started with a wobbly campaign in the São Paulo state Championship, but an impressive start to the Brazilian Championship, paired with the classification as best team in the group stage of the Libertadores Cup, had us all walking on clouds.
Unfortunately, the Copa América break put everything to lose. Palmeiras were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Brazil Cup and the Libertadores Cup and have since the break not won a single game in the Brazilian Championship – seven to date. Big Phil was appointed the villain and on the night of September 2nd, his third and last run at Palmeiras came to an end. In this his last spell, Felipão commanded the Verdão 77 times, computing 46 victories, 22 draws and 9 defeats: 69,3% of points won.
Big Phil is one of the greatest coaches in Palmeiras’ history, if not the greatest. His titles: two Brazil Cups (1998 & 2012), one Brazilian Championship (2018), one Rio-São Paulo (2000), one Mercosul (1998) and one Libertadores (1999). Sharing the podium with Lula (Luiz Alonso Perez, 1922-1972), he is undeniably also Brazil’s most successful coach of all times.
Big Phil’s departure feels like when a dear friend moves to another city: you remember the good times you experienced and expect to someday meet again, but mourn the distance and feel you should have made more of the time you had together.
Goodbye, Big Phil. We will miss you.
—- ooo —-
by Augusto Anteghini Oazi