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palmeirasdublinNo greener country than Ireland, no greener football team than Palmeiras. Fuse the two and great things happen. For the Olé Palmeiras website, Bruno Maciel interviewed the founders of the largest Palmeiras supporter group outside of Brazil, here translated into English by yours truly.

This is the second article in a series, featuring the main Palmeiras supporter groups outside of Brazil.

Curious to know what other Palmeiras supporter groups and Consulates there are out there? Check out our “Abroad” section! You know of any groups outside of Brazil not on the list? Drop us a line on twitter or by email!

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Responsible for founding Palmeiras Dublin, 27-year-old Diego Bianchi and 42-year-old Renato Sales say that on any given game day about 40 palmeirenses come together at the “Buskers on the Ball”, located at 13-17 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Multiply this number by three when “The Verdão” play any of the other major teams in the league.

“We watch every Palmeiras game through international TV channels, and through the internet. On weekends, it’s easy. Now, games on weekdays, depending on the time… When kick-off is past midnight (there’s a 2-4 hour difference to Brazil, depending on the season) we have an agreement with the pub owner, an American, who will open the place exclusively for us, if we bring at least 20 people”, Diego explains.

The Palmeiras Family is such an integrated part of the “Buskers on the Ball”, they even have a space reserved only for them. And there, framed in the wall, you find a Palmeiras jersey from the victorious 2016 Brazilian championship campaign, autographed by the squad.

According to Renato, Palmeiras Dublin originally emerged with the sole aim of celebrating Palmeiras’ centenary, in 2014. At the time, two days before the anniversary, he and Diego posted messages on social networks, calling out to palmeirenses in the city and surrounding areas to meet up at “The Living Room”, a pub located on Cathal Brugha St, Rotunda, Dublin 1, very close the Irish capital’s main tourist point, “the Spire”.

“To our surprise, more than 50 people showed up to celebrate the centenary. The general manager of the pub was blown away by our party and from that day, we meet up to watch every game”, Renato reveals.
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First get-together, in 2014, to celebrate Palmeiras’ centenary

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The Living Room was Palmieras Dublin’s headquarters for two years. With the linear growth of the group, an invitation materialised from the owners of “Buskers on the Ball”, a bigger and more structured establishment, and Palmeiras Dublin changed its address.”Almost all the staff at “Buskers on the Ball” are Irish, but today they cheer for Palmeiras, take an active interest in the team, wear our shirts and caps”, Renato adds.

“Buskers on the Ball” is a sports bar, primarily attended by locals. And although the Irish are party-goers, they are not accustomed to the Brazilian way of watching games, Diego argues. “We sing songs, our club anthem, we have a blast. I especially remember an episode in 2015, Palmeiras playing Flamengo. We were in large numbers, watching the game, and there was a Flamengo supporter watching the game with us. Palmeiras opened the scorecard but Flamengo turned the game around, making it 2-1. An Irish crowd at the pub began to cheer for Flamengo, as a way to have a bit of fun with us. Then, when Palmeiras turned the game, we all went up to their table; it was sensational observing the faces of shock and amazement of the Irish as we celebrated the goal full tilt”, Diego smiles.

THE SPIRE IS OURS
In December of 2015 and 2016, the Spire, Dublin’s main tourist attraction, was overtaken by palmeirenses, celebrating, respectively, the Brazil Cup title and the Brazilian Championship title.

“The Brazil Cup final took place at dawn here and it was the only time that “The Living Room” reached maximum capacity for a single audience: we had more than 300 palmeirenses at the premises. The party lasted until the wee hours of the morning. We even had people from other countries in Europe travelling in order to watch and celebrate with us. Now, for the 2016 championship title, we hosted a party identical to the 2 year anniversary of Palmeiras Dublin in August. We decorated the “Buskers on the Ball” and hired a DJ to lead the celebration, which also ran late into night with the presence of more than 450 palmeirenses“, Renato recalls.
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Be it for fun, work or studies: Palmeiras Dublin’s fame has become so evident, some palmeirenses actually chose Ireland and Dublin as their destination partly because of the supporter group. No wonder Palmeiras in 2017 invited Palmeiras Dublin to become a Consulate, a representative of Palmeiras in the country.

“This is all very cool because it is a formal recognition of the work we do here. We are now an extension of Palmeiras in Ireland and in the European Union. We enjoy the same autonomy as before, but we have to report on activities we carry out for Palmeiras. We exchanged ideas with other Consulates and with our Department back in São Paulo, now with a “seal of approval” from the Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, the club we love”, Diego explains.

All this popularity led to Ireland’s Consul General in São Paulo, Sharon Lennon, last year record a video message for the members of Palmeiras Dublin. “Our dreams are coming through, little by little. What began three years ago with a simple meeting has turned into a reference for Palmeiras Consulates around the world. This is priceless”, Renato concludes.

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With roughly US$ 60 billion being pumped into sports through sponsorship deals every year, one would assume the average business model to be solid and well defined, securing that companies benefit from their investments. Well, think again. Research on the topic is surprisingly scarce and the main findings of the studies that do exist, surprising by their own merit.

Do sponsorship deals increase brand visibility and value? Sales? Company net worth? How could these and other indicators be better studied, fueling more qualified discussion on the topic?

Below, Douglas Monaco gives us his take on a highly relevant article, “Does football sponsorship improve company performance?”, inserting it into the context of the current (for Brazilian standards) controversial Palmeiras x Crefisa/FAM partnership. Enjoy!

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Improving the discussions on sponsorship of football clubs

  1. Introduction

In the last weeks, the relationship between Palmeiras and Crefisa/FAM has generated a new wave of media attention.

On the one hand, people have called for financial fair play, claiming that Palmeiras’ spending on players has to be curbed to avoid an otherwise uneven, unbalanced situation in which the tournaments will be tilted towards the club, artificially increasing the club’s odds of winning.

On the other hand, there is extensive coverage of the alleged rewriting of some parts of the partnership contract. According to repercussions in general, the changes would have been triggered by the Brazilian IRS (Internal Revenue Service) investigation of how Crefisa/FAM was accounting for the amounts paid in signing of players.
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The fact is that since its beginning in January 2015, the partnership has been a customary subject in the TV sports news and internet sports outlets. The comments are purportedly making a technical assessment of football clubs’ sponsorship as a theme.

The truth though is that these discussions have generated much fuss, but nothing practical. In the words of the late and illustrious Palmeiras’ supporter Joelmir Betting, “much heat and no light”, an expression that used to pop up in his always clarifying chronicles.

Propelled by the last wave of comments, this post will bring to the discussion something unusual so far: results from a peer reviewed paper published in a scientific journal specialized in sports management. The paper was published in December 2016 and its results – rather counter-intuitive – are based on a 6-year analysis of 78 companies sponsoring clubs in 7 (seven) of the major European leagues.

The objective of the study has been to measure the effectiveness of sponsorship to the sponsor, i.e. does sponsoring a football club make the sponsor more successful in relation to key indicators like sales and market capitalization?

The goal of the post though is not so much to emphasize the results, but to suggest an approach to discussing sponsorship in football: analytical rigour, conceptual formalism and relentless objectivity. By improving the analyses, conclusions about the subject will at once be more reliable and more useful.

  1. Results experienced by 78 European sponsors between 2006 and 2012

2.1 Context of the study

There are many reasons to study the effectiveness of sports sponsorship to the sponsoring company.

First of all, according to the Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, sports sponsorship as a business is estimated to have drawn in 62 billion dollars in investments during 2017, with football assumed to have received sizable parts of it.

Beyond this quantitative aspect though, the notoriety of the phenomenon in the whole world seems to be only increasing. Brands – well-known as well as up and coming – are seen in shirts of leagues in a variety of sports, with football as a front runner in the context.

Given this combination of economic size and prominence, the question is unavoidable: does such a cost draining, prominent activity actually generate value for those investing in it? Do sponsors increase sales, become more profitable, do they increase their wealth due to their investments in sponsorship?

One basic difficulty in studying the phenomenon is to reach a consensus in defining sponsorship: is sponsorship “paying to be seen”? should it allow the investor a say in sponsored entity’s affairs?

Studies about the sponsorship seem to follow a line of applying surveys to capture public opinion’s perception of sponsor, detect consumption intentions, mapping the repercussions of brand visibility both in conventional as well as in social media.

The study reviewed in this post adopts the usual “pay for visibility” concept. But it takes a different method: instead of the surveys, it attempts to quantitatively measure the impact of amounts paid by sponsors on their result-variables, things observable in the sponsors’ balance sheets.

2.2 Results of the study

The main conclusion of the study is: for the six years analyzed, there is no evidence that investing in the sponsorship of football clubs brings measurable benefits to the sponsor’s balance sheet.

And this finding is verified for practically all countries analyzed by the study. The sampled 78 companies are present in clubs of England, Spain, France, Italy, Scotland, Netherlands and Turkey, seven of the main European leagues.

The study uses regression analysis to measure causality between invested value and performance of the company. For all tests made, the result is that there is simply no causation, i.e. companies that invest in sponsorship don’t achieve better economic outcomes than those that don’t invest in sponsorship.

The variables of the model are quite straightforward: total amount invested in each year versus result-variables in the following year. The result-variables are of two kinds: sales income and market capitalization.

The choice for sales-income aims at reflecting the effect of sponsorship over the sponsor business primarily in the next year. The choice for market capitalization – share price multiplied by the number of shares in circulation – captures the expectation that the capital market has about the general profitability of the company also for the future years, so measuring the impact of the whole enterprise strategy, inclusive the investment in sponsorship.

Results relative to Sales

The regression analysis used – considered a powerful tool to test this type of quantitative relationship between variables – makes important methodological adaptations aiming at vulnerabilities intrinsic of the situation, e.g. the “chicken and egg problem”: are companies that sell much more prone to sponsoring? Or companies that sponsor end up selling more?

In spite of allowing for this limitation, in its almost totality, the results indicate that there is no impact of sponsorship over sales.

The only admissible exception is the league as a differentiator: the French league presented a slight impact on sales. If this aspect shows to be replicable, a stream of research may be indicated.

Another aspect analyzed by the report was how “acting for the first time as a sponsor” could make the company more likely to benefit from the investments. Unfortunately, here too, results don’t show any significant impact on sales.

Results relative to Market Capitalization

For this variable, the results are uniform in all circumstances: investing in sponsorship has decreased the market capitalization of the studied sponsors.

Market capitalization is a long-term indicator that reflects the average expectations of the capital market investors. Capitalization takes into consideration the expected net cash flows, discounted by the adequate rate, when income and payments are estimated, inclusive of the payments to sponsorship.

Losses in market capitalization translate into actual reduction in a company’s net worth, i.e. the loss in market value has to generate an entry – debit and credit – in the books that will be reflected in the company’s balance sheet.

The study does not give details of which countries show more pronounced losses, neither which sectors of the economy the sponsors belong to. Still, the correlation is deprecating enough to prompt a reevaluation of the strategy.

Other results

The study also controls for the global economic crisis of 2008 – to avoid the crisis being disguised into the lack of impact by sponsorship.

Another important point was to test which characteristics make a company more likely to sponsor: size and type of ownership are the factors more associated in the study.

Bigger companies and companies individually controlled seem to be more prone to engage in a sponsorship contract. Companies from the financial sector, those of more pulverized ownership and government companies are less likely to.

The study cogitates that the utility function of the sponsor owner seems to benefit more from sponsoring than any commercial benefit the company may derive from the contract.

The most unexpected statement made by the study is that “football sponsoring is more charity than business”.

2.3 Comments about the results

For many reasons, the results of this study have to be considered as surprising, to say the least.

First of all, the global investment in sponsorship is huge. So, there seems to be a strong contradiction as how can so much investment be made into something that doesn’t produce return?

The geographical and contextual reach of the study accentuates the surprise nature of the results.

In “contradiction to the contradiction”, the Brazilian case seems, to some extent, to confirm the study as in late years, Brazilian clubs have faced more difficulty in recruiting new sponsors than in the past. The cases of “clean jerseys” and one-off sponsorships have been more common.

The exception in Brazil really appears to be Crefisa/FAM whose amounts invested have only grown since January 2015. Beyond the increase in value, the scope of the investments has also varied – not only the brand is shown in the commercial properties of the club, but football costs have been directly covered by the company, e.g. signings and paychecks of certain players.

Not only have the investments grown: the general impression is that the visibility of Crefisa/FAM has been catapulted to record heights – much like Parmalat’s in the 90s. In addition, the sponsor’s performance data seem to indicate strong practical impact of the partnership. According to internet information published[1] at the beginning of 2017, the Crefisa/FAM group enjoyed a 30% increase in the enrollment of new students, coupled with the acquisition of 400,000 square meters of land in the eastern zone of the city of São Paulo, where a new campus will be built.

All this strengthen the impression that the partnership between Palmeiras and Crefisa/FAM could be an outstanding exception to the 78 companies study; with the obvious caveat that further verification regarding sales and net worth of the sponsor is necessary in order to affirm the exception.

  1. Final comments

Though not conclusive, the results reviewed in this article offer important insights into understanding sponsorship as a phenomenon.

For the time being, despite the huge investments made in sport sponsorship worldwide, one quantitative study covering a highly significant sample of European leagues indicates that sponsoring a football club does not constitute good business strategy.

At least not in a conventional way, i.e. paying a fee, inserting your brand and expecting your profits or at least your sales to grow as a result.

Counter-examples to the reviewed study would have to be researched.

But cases like the Palmeiras x Parmalat in the 1990s and Palmeiras x Crefisa/FAM now suggest that to derive tangible benefits, the level of investment must be above average and that apart from exhibiting the brand in the club’s commercial properties, the sponsor must somehow share in the business of club’s football department, vis a vis the co-management experiment with Parmalat and the signing of players by Crefisa/FAM currently taking place at Palmeiras.

Another aspect that the 78 companies study highlights is the “satisfying the utility function of the sponsor’s owner” as the primary goal of conventional sponsorship.

Interestingly, the occasional strengthening of this hypothesis – by further studies – could prove right the “benefactor” accusation that has victimized Palmeiras in the Crefisa/FAM partnership. Maybe, the so much criticized arrangement is actually a model to be followed instead of the “wrong example” to be avoided.

Anyway, what the remarks above suggest is that we’re still at an incipient stage in the scientific knowledge about sponsorship in sports/football.

Further studies will prove these and or other remarks right or wrong. Whatever the final results, what matters is that they be reached with appropriate methodology in a way that lends legitimacy and credibility to the output.

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Reviewed article

“Does football sponsorship improve company performance?”

European Sport Management Quarterly, 2016. Vol 16, no. 2, pp. 129-147. Published by Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. Written by Iuliia Naidenova, Petr Parshakov and Alexey Chmykhov; all from the Laboratory of Intangible-driven Economy, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Perm, Russia

[1] http://www.1news.com.br/noticia/5629/futebol-brasileiro/leila-pereira-comemora-sucesso-em-parceria-com-palmeiras-confira-os-lucros-das-empresas-07022017

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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!
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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!

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Palmeiras’ Colombian centre-defender Yerry Mina is joining Barcelona. This was expected, although the transfer was scheduled for post World Cup. The anticipation costs the Catalan club an additional €3.3 million, raising the total price to €12.3 million: €11.8 million for the economic rights (€10 million going to Palmeiras and €1.8 million to Santa Fe) and €590.000, corresponding to 5% of the transfer value, to be divided between Deportivo Pasto, Santa Fe and Palmeiras – all clubs Mina has played for.

The price tag might seem low, but one should remember that Mina only arrived at Palmeiras because Director of Football Alexandre Mattos convinced the defender not to go to Germany, after having reached an understanding with Barcelona whereby Palmeiras would groom the player for a couple of seasons before handing him over at a pre-defined price of €9 million. At the time, signing Mina set Palmeiras back some €3 million. Palmeiras are now looking at approximately €7 million in net revenues.

Yerry Mina rapidly bonded with club and supporters and was instrumental in Palmeiras’ 2016 Brazilian Championship title. After a total of 48 games and 9 goals in the green jersey, the tremendously dedicated 23-year-old has all the tools to conquer the World.

Thank you and the best of luck in your new endeavor, Mina!
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Following a handful of punctual signings in the last weeks, Palmeiras now consider the 2018 squad assembled. The five reinforcements address the primary shortcomings identified throughout the 2017 season and any other players – such as Ricardo Goulart or Gustavo Scarpa – will only be considered in the case of particularly interesting opportunities materialising.

On the five newcomers:

Weverton, Olympic gold medalist, will battle with veterans Fernando Prass and Jailson for a spot in the starting eleven. The 30-year-old keeper played the last six seasons for Atlético Paranaense.

rocha_croppedMarcos Rocha, the most recent newcomer, takes over the right flank, the 29-year-old arriving from Atlético Mineiro on a one-year loan swap involving Roger Guedes. Libertadores and Brazil Cup champion, Rocha also has a couple of Brazil caps on his CV. He comes with a fixed price should Palmeiras wish to keep him beyond 2018.

Diogo Barbosa had a great year at Cruzeiro and arrives to solve Palmeiras’ problems on the left flank. The 25-year-old had lucrative offers from abroad – Ajax in particular – but opted for the Verdão. In exchange for one if not the best left-defender currently active in Brazilian football, Cruzeiro sees the return of Egídio.  

Lucas Lima was brought in from Santos to overcome Palmeiras’ offensively rather stale midfield, in spite of names like Alejandro Guerra and Raphael Veiga in the squad. Moisés was frequently designated with the task, although not comfortable with the playmaker role, as he is much more a box-to-box midfielder. Lima, if motivated, is a heck of a player.

Emerson Santos is but 22 years old and was Palmeiras’ first signing designated for the upcoming season. Previously at Botafogo, the centre-back has plenty of potential but is not expected to grab a spot in the starting eleven quite yet.

In addition to the aforementioned recently signed, Thiago Martins, Victor Luis, Allione and Artur return to Palmeiras after having spent the year at other clubs. Maybe not all of these are expected to remain at Palmeiras in 2018, but will be observed by coach Roger Machado during the initial months.

Machado has been fully involved in assembling the 2018 squad, picking arrivals and deciding which players to do without. Several top players have been brought in, but not much money has been spent – thanks to Alexandre Mattos reaching new levels of efficiency. In addition, unlike previous years, the squad resumes activities on 3 January without any pending issues – an important ingredient in the recipe for success.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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What an awful game that was, Atlético Paranaense vs Palmeiras in the 38th and final round of the Brazilian championship. With the best of intentions, you could put a few percent of blame on the artificial grass, but the rest really came down to uninspiredness, paired with our player’s continuous difficulties in adapting to Valentin’s idea of an advanced defensive line. 3-0 in halftime and Palmeiras were never ever close to react. Pathetic ending to a disappointing season.

That being said, Palmeiras did finish second overall, in a year where three coaches came and went, each with very different styles of play – proof alone the squad is qualified, enduring such stress and still coming out comparatively well. Many a supporter is pissed off, as expectations were sky high. However, one must also remember that in 2014, Palmeiras escaped relegation in the last round; in 2015, bagged the Brazil Cup; in 2016, the Brasileirão. Considering the 2017 campaign a complete failure only serves to illustrate how much Palmeiras have evolved in these last few years. And should continue to evolve.

Final standings: Corinthians (72), Palmeiras (63), Santos (63), Grêmio (62), Cruzeiro (57), Flamengo (56), Vasco (56), Chapecoense (54), Atlético Mineiro (54), Botafogo (53), Atlético Parananese (51), Bahia (50), São Paulo (50), Fluminense (47), Sport (45) and Vitória (43). Relegated: Coritiba (43), Avaí (43), Ponte Preta (39) and Atlético Goianense (36). Next year, the Série A will see the inclusion of América Mineiro, Internacional, Ceará and Paraná.

A more than honourable mention to Chapecoense, who finished 8th and grabbed the last 2018 Libertadores Cup spot. This was Chape’s best result to date in the Brazilian championship and extraordinary when considering that the team, end of last year, overnight ceased to exist. Now, without diminishing Chape’s feat… Chape finishing 8th also says a lot about Brazilian football club’s overall (lack of) planning and managing skills.

If 2017 was rather disappointing for Palmeiras’ A team, the youth divisions had a splendid one. In the São Paulo state championship, for the first time in history, Palmeiras made it to the finals in ALL age groups, with the following results:

U11 – Champions
U13 – Runners-up
U15 – Champions
U17 – Runners-up
U20 – Champions

2017_SUB11On the 25 of November, Palmeiras opened up the lower section of the Allianz Parque for the public, where the U11 and U15 played their finals. The free admission drew a 21.000 strong crowd, every available ticket was handed out. Many a palmeirense, struggling to make ends meet, that day had an opportunity to visit the stadium for the first time. This was reflected in the atmosphere, there was something different in the air, something dignifying. And imagine the emotion of 10-year-olds on the pitch, playing a championship final, with 21.000 people cheering them on from start to finish… Beautiful.

In addition to the aforementioned results in the State championship, Palmeiras’ U17 bagged the Brazil Cup. Indeed, the future is promising, although Palmeiras need to improve player transition from youth to A category. New head coach Roger Machado pays close attention to these details, they say.

Including the timely arrival of Roger Machado, signings are well underway. There will be no revolution, the spine of the squad is solid. Mattos and Machado will rather look at filling specific positions, where there were obvious fragilities this season, starting with the flanks and midfield creativity. On the left, Diogo Barbosa has been signed from Cruzeiro. On the right, Rafinha is speculated but Palmeiras are awaiting conclusion of the player’s negotiations with Bayern Munchen. Lucas Lima is arriving to be the playmaker of choice, with competition coming from Allione, the Argentine returning from his one-year loan to Bahia. In addition, former Botafogo centre-defender Emerson Santos has been signed, and Atlético Paranaense keeper Weverton should be announced within days. Palmeiras are also closely monitoring the situation of left-back Zeca, trying to break free from his contract with Santos due to unresolved issues regarding employer’s fees.

Anything Palmeiras will keep you posted on further developments. 

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Palmeiras’ penultimate game this season was also Zé Roberto’s last, the 43-year-old midfielder a few days earlier having announced his retirement from professional football. Naturally, the chosen stage was the Allianz Parque, with Botafogo co-starring and correctly suffering a 2-0 defeat, goals by Dudu and Keno (really worth checking out, highlights below). The result propelled Palmeiras into second place.
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Zé Roberto’s career has been extraordinary. 961 club football games for Bayern Munchen, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburg, Grêmio, Flamengo, Santos, Portuguesa, Al-Gharafa and, of course, Palmeiras. In addition, 84 caps for Brazil.

At Palmeiras, he played 133 games as midfielder, sometimes as left defender, and scored 10 goals. He was instrumental in the 2015 Brazil Cup title and the 2016 Brazilian Championship title, exercising supreme leadership on and, in particular, off the pitch. His personal determination to contribute to the elevation of Palmeiras’ grandeur and self-esteem to that of previous glorious decades was surprising, touching and very necessary: like few others, Zé Roberto in a short time fully understood and incorporated Palmeiras into his very self, and in the most professional of ways. Mind you, Zé Roberto is oldest player to pull on our jersey and the oldest to score for Palmeiras. The oldest to score in a Libertadores game and the second oldest to ever have participated in the tournament.

His farewell at the stadium was emotional and worthy. Today, he summed up his life until now with the words “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have remained faithful. And I have left a legacy.” Indeed you have, Zé Roberto. Indeed you have. Thank you!
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Upcoming Sunday, against Atlético Paranaense, Alberto Valentin commands the men one last time. Closely observed by Roger Machado, who no doubt is contemplating the squad’s strengths and weaknesses and how he in 2018 will make the best out of Lucas Lima’s arrival.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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UPDATE: Zé Roberto will be Technical Advisor at Palmeiras as of January 2018. In his new role he will work alongside director of football Alexandre Mattos and his aid Cícero Souza on a number of administrative functions. More importantly, Zé Roberto will also have direct contact with players and coaching staff, facilitating their interaction with the management and vice versa. Alexandre Mattos considers this an important function, much used in European clubs but practically unheard of in Brazil (at the announcement, he gave but one reference: Tinga at Cruzeiro).

This is excellent news. Much good could potentially generate from this arrangement. Congratulations to everyone involved!

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