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After yesterday having his picture snapped wearing a Palmeiras jersey underneath the Brazilian National Team polo, Neymar frankly admitted he one day would like to play for the Verdão.

“Already as a small kid, I was Palmeiras. My idols were Evair, Marcos, Rivaldo, Alex… These are the guys I looked up to. I became a palmeirense because of them.”
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Neymar and the rest of the National squad today trained at Palmeiras’ Football Academy ahead of Tuesdays World Cup qualifier against Chile at the Allianz Parque.

“Nobody knows about tomorrow, but it would be a great pleasure (to play for Palmeiras)”, the Paris Saint-Germain forward concluded.

Lucas LimaDirector of Football Alexandre Mattos today met with Neymar’s father, but Neymar is not transferring to Palmeiras (quite yet). Now, there is a decent chance playmaker Lucas Lima, currently at Santos, pulls on the green kit next season. So happens, Neymar Senior is Lima’s agent… Stay tuned.  

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Atlético Mineiro 1-1 Palmeiras
Cuca used the two weeks to tweak defence and midfield creativity. Yesterday’s first test against Atlético Mineiro was an interesting albeit frustrating experience:  individual errors and a biased referee saw two Palmeiras players – Luan and Willian – sent off, not permitting the game to evolve organically. Still, the end result and, in particular, the way Palmeiras occupied spaces and to a certain extent controlled the game at the Estádio Independência – even one and later two men short – are good indicators the team has evolved. How much, possibly we will learn more about on Monday the 18th, when Palmeiras receive Coritiba.

Monday, Palmeiras are issuing a formal protest against Leandro Vuaden. On two occasions, both crucial, he failed to do the right thing: award a penalty for Palmeiras as a shot was blocked with open arms, and have a converted Atlético penalty go repeat after an Atlético player grossly invaded the penalty box. In addition, criteria for distribution of yellow and red cards were inexistent throughout the game.  
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Is there anything left for palmeirenses to enjoy this year? Sure. The Libertadores Cup spot needs securing. And seriously… Palmeiras are 14 points behind Corinthians, but the skunks have lost three out of last four games, with 15 rounds to go. Then there is the deliciousness of São Paulo FC’s desperate battle against relegation…

— ooo —

Felipe Melo has been reintegrated into the squad. Not meaning Cuca will take advantage of the new-old addition. During an unfortunate press conference, the loose cannon was allowed to take centre stage and the habitual stream of bombastic bull followed. Just for starters, Melo alleged categorically not having apologized to Cuca… I expect Melo to train with the squad and, occasionally, make it to the bench. And negotiated as soon as an opportunity arises.

— ooo —

Palmeiras’ youth divisions are doing well. Three athletes – midfielder Alan, centre-back Vitão and left-back Luan – have been selected for Brazil’s U17 squad playing the World Cup in India 6-28 October.

So far this year, 15 Palmeiras players have represented Brazil in one of the youth categories: nine in the Brazil U15 (keepers Mateus and Bruno Carcaioli, centre-backs Henri and Renan, defender Garcia, midfielders Fabinho and Gabriel Silva and forwards Vinicius and Gabriel Veron), another five in the U17 team (defenders Lucas Rosa and Luan Cândido, centre-back Vitão and midfielders Alan and Bruno Tattavito) and forward Léo Passos for the U20. Promising for the future.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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With 13 days to train and rest after the classico, a sense of normality has enveloped Palmeiras. The newsworthy events are few. Not necessarily is a bad thing.

— ooo —

Gabriel Jesus’ former manager Fábio Caran and Palmeiras have reached an agreement whereby the club receives a further R$ 20 million (US$ 6.4 million) originating from the player’s sale to Manchester City.

Initially entitled to receive only 30% of the R$ 121 million, Palmeiras increased the club’s percentage to 50% due to the manager and his wife having breached the contract by forming a partnership with two other entrepreneurs without the club’s consent. The agreement ends a yearlong imbroglio in the courts. Caran, originally to receive R$ 28 million, thus ends up with R$ 8 million.

— ooo —

Felipe Melo seems likely to return to the Palmeiras squad. No offers from abroad has surfaced and there are some legal aspects to consider if Melo would continuously be kept separate from the rest of the men. Players seem fine with a reintegration; the main concern is rather as to what point coach Cuca and Melo will be able to reconcile.

The defensive midfielder is on a contract with Palmeiras until end of 2019.

— ooo —

Following Vitinhos’ loan deal to Barcelona B, a number of young Palmeiras players have followed suit, negotiated with European clubs.  

In yesterday’s last day of the European transfer window, Emerson Muller of the U20 squad was negotiated, for an undisclosed amount, on a four-year contract with Suisse club FC Lugano. In any future transfer of the midfielder, Palmeiras are entitled to 20%.

The previous day, 18-year-old forward Gabriel Barbosa was negotiated on a one-year loan deal with Italian top-division club Spal.

Centre-back Gabriel Estigarribia and forward Matheus Iacovelli have also left, both for good: the defender is with Alavés of Spain, and the forward with Estoril, Portugal.

— ooo —

There are rumours Miguel Borja could be open for a transfer, concerned about limited play time at Palmeiras and the risk of losing his spot in Colombia’s national squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Both Cuca and Galiotte have however reiterated that Borja is very focused and determined to make it work at Palmeiras. The player himself acknowledge difficulties in adapting to the Brazilian style of play and Cuca’s philosophy, but guarantees he is staying. Borja has four more years to his contract.

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Palmeiras’ premature exit from the Brazil Cup and Libertadores Cup will not have an immediate impact on the squad, which is good. With the exception of Felipe Melo, no one is leaving. Palmeiras and Melo are seeking a amicable settlement; the quicker things are resolved the better. 

mina_castNow, the medical department is having busy days. Against Barcelona, Mina, Dudu and Jaílson were injured. The latter two should be out for another three weeks, while Mina is looking at three months due to a broken toe. “I’ll come back, stronger than ever” he stated yesterday, posing with his cast.

Mayke, Willian, Thiago Martins and Juninho are all in the final phases of transition and are likely available on Sunday, at home, against Chapecoense. Also Guerra and Moisés should be fit for fight.

Then there is Arouca. After two surgical procedures early in the year, removing cartilage from his right ankle, the defensive midfielder is reaching the end of a long recovery period. Still, he has a few more weeks to go and there are doubts if he will make a strong enough impression to secure a spot in next year’s squad, which Mattos and Cuca certainly are already moulding in their heads.

Goalkeeper Fernando Prass is negotiating his extension, and so is left-back Egídio. There are a bit of mixed feelings related to both these negotiations.

Rounding off with a piece of unconfirmed news that Palmeiras have signed Botafogo centre-back Emerson Santos. Corinthians had a deal almost sealed but were apparently beaten on the finishing line. Emerson is to arrive in January of next year. More info to follow.

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On Friday, ahead of Saturday’s game against Avaí, coach Cuca told the squad Felipe Melo would not be in the starting eleven nor on the bench. On Saturday night, after a convincing 2-0 against the team from Florianópolis, Cuca laid it out to the press: Felipe Melo will not proceed at Palmeiras.

Melo is an ambitious and strong-headed individual, never comfortable with the bench. Cuca does not see Melo’s playing style as ideal while seeking to emulate the characteristics of the 2016 team: speed, quick transitions, advanced positions paired with aggressive marking of the opponent. This was discussed with the player and mutual consent was reached: better part ways. Simple as that.
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With his extremely outspoken and self-promoting personality, Felipe Melo has divided opinions among palmeirenses. Personally, I have no problem with him leaving. I see better options in Bruno Henrique and Thiago Santos, paired with Moisés’ emminent return. Palmeiras are paying the price for a rather turbulent first six months, Cuca’s absence and subsequent return the pivoting factor. At this point, Cuca needs full backing to catch up for time lost, within limits reshape the squad and find that playing style he so much envisions. Anything not part of the solution is part of the problem. 

Melo has played only five games so far in the Brasileirão, he has not reached the limit that would prevent him from defending another first division team this season. There are however no indications at this point regarding his future: possibly, he will remain at Palmeiras for a few weeks, training in separate, while things are being solved. His contract with Palmeiras formally ends in December of 2019.

During his seven months at Palmeiras, Melo played 27 games and scored twice. Although his passage was brief, he certainly left his mark, always defending the club with blood and sweat.

Anything Palmeiras wishes Melo good luck in his future endeavours.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

— ooo —

UPDATE, 1/8/2017 – 12:55

We learnt today from Palmeiras’ director of football Alexandre Mattos that removing Felipe Melo from the squad was far from solely based on technical/tactical concerns. A number of incidents involving Melo had occurred previously, but had been dealt with internally. After Wednesday’s elimination from the Brazil Cup, Melo’s disrespectful attitude in the locker room reached new heights. As the news of the occurrence reached Palmeiras’ directors, they decided to remove Melo, having previously consulted Cuca regarding the possible impacts on the field.

Melo was formally communicated on Friday morning. On Friday afternoon, the player apologised to Cuca, club president Galiotte and the squad.

Any possibility of reconciliation was effectively torpedoed yesterday night: in a leaked audio, recorded Sunday night, Melo launches a personal attack on Cuca, in addition to voicing his wish to play somewhere else.

Melo will train separated from the rest of the squad, awaiting interesting offers. Mattos stated there are none on the table at the moment.

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Palmeiras yesterday announced having reached an agrement for forward Deyverson, belonging to Levante but playing for this year’s Copa del Rey finalists Alavés, for € 5 million. The news came as a surprise: Palmeiras have been negotiating with Sport’s Diego Souza for two weeks and previously tried Fluminense’s Richarlison for the position. Other players, like Chilean Eduardo Vargas, were speculated. Palmeiras certainly flew under the radar on this one, beating (at least) Wolfsburg, Leverkusen and Porto to the chase.

Not that negotiations happened overnight: they reportedly initiated some 45 days ago, on request from Palmeiras coach Cuca. In Deyverson, Cuca sees a player with enough physical strength to fight off defenders, but also mobility to play outside the area. Barcelona coach Luis Enrique in May described the 26-year-old as one of the most dangerous strikers of La Liga, a complete player, physical but also technical. “Very good in the aerial game, a born fighter, always going after that second ball. A strong finisher, with fast transitions”, he concluded.

Negotiations with Deyverson dragged on a bit due to Levante’s initial reluctance to sell, but the forward’s wish tipped the scale. “At first, Deyverson was not interested in a transfer, he planned on remaining at Aláves”, his manager explains. “But as the offers started coming, both from Spain and other countries… In the end, he chose Palmeiras. The project they presented gave us confidence. We feel joining Palmeiras is a step forward, not simply a return to Brazil”.

Without doubt, Deyverson will grab one of the two remaining spots in Palmeiras’ Libertadores squad. If successful at his new club, through the increased visibility he might also catch national coach Tite’s attention.

Deyverson initiated his career at third-division Rio de Janeiro club Mangaratibense, from where, in 2012 and at the age of 20, he left for Benfica. From there he went on to defend Belenenses (POR), Köln, Levante and Alavés, playing a total of 141 games and scoring 38 goals. 1,87m tall and weighing 81kg, the forward is expected Thursday in São Paulo for his medical before signing a five-year contract.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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A few minutes ago, FC Barcelona announced the signing of Palmeiras’ attacking midfielder Vitinho, confirming last Friday’s featured article at Anything Palmeiras. The 19-year-old, with all of Brazil’s national squad youth divisions on his CV, comes as a loan move, expiring end of June 2018, with an option of purchase set at €15 million.

At Barcelona B, Vitinho is bound to grow significantly as a professional.

Best of luck, kid!
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