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Palmeiras are “flying low”, as one would say in Portuguese: nine victories and one draw in the last ten rounds of the Brasileirão, with five straight wins, the last two against Paraná and, yesterday, Joinville.

Paraná proved a hard nut, as expected, but before a 30.000 strong crowd at the Pacaembu, Palmeiras were able to turn the tables even after suffering an early own goal. Paraná have the so far strongest defence in the division, and naturally closed up even further after the goal. In the second half, Palmeiras turned the pressure up and dismantled Paraná piece by piece. Valdivia and especially Wesley shone.
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An amusing storm in a water glass followed, as SporTV journalist André Rizek fumed over Valdivia’s not only obvious but explicit and successful strategy to receive a third booking: Valdivia had been called up for the Chilean national squad and took the opportunity to clean his sheet as he thus wouldn’t be at coach Kleina’s disposal for the following game against Joinville. Rizek practically begged the laughable Supreme Sports Tribunal (STJD) to look into the case, he himself conveniently overlooking the fact that what Valdivia did has been done since the dawning of football. Curious how certain things turn big only because Palmeiras are involved; can’t remember Rizek opening his mouth last year when Corinthians coach Tite confirmed that he had ordered Paulinho to do exactly the same trickster manoeuvre.

In the end, Valdivia didn’t play for the national team: he was diagnosed with muscular fatigue and ordered a rest by the Chilean doctor. Most likely he won’t face Paysandu later this week, only returning for the Brazil Cup game against Atlético Paranaense next week, if properly recovered. Fingers crossed: Mendieta was taken off the pitch yesterday after a blow to the thigh and Palmeiras need at least one of the two in good shape for next week’s important appointment.

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Yesterday, in the state of Santa Catarina and mostly under rain, Palmeiras beat Joinville 1-0. It wasn’t that much to write home about, but again, Wesley proved important on the pitch and, as soon as he walked off it, reconfirmed how satisfied he is at Palmeiras, that he wishes to stay but that his future’s in God’s hands. The quite massive campaigning online (there’s even a website calling for Wesley’s stay), Wesley’s own statements and the player’s growing tactical and technical importance for the team might prove enough for Palmeiras to dismiss a loan proposal from Atlético Mineiro for the remainder of the year that reportedly includes salaries and some US$ 2.6 million. Remembering that Palmeiras only consider letting a player of Wesley’s calibre go due to the still very strained financial reality of the club: the Nobre administration is yet to announce a major sponsor and costs are cut wherever they can be found.

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Speaking of the Nobre administration: on twitter Anything Palmeiras launched a very modest poll a few days back with the intention to roughly verify a hypothesis: that the personal profile (or life philosophy, if you so which) of those most fiercely opposing the Nobre administration primarily reflects a day-by-day approach, persons who are impulsive and seek to maximise gains. On the other hand, Nobre supporters would be the opposite: at large careful planners who seek to minimise risks.

The poll was a resounding failure. 45% of votes were cast on the “live to the max, support Nobre” option; 50% on the “plan carefully, support Nobre” option; and 5% on the “live to the max, don’t support Nobre” option. No votes were cast for the “plan carefully, don’t support Nobre” option. In other words: the support for Nobre was equally divided between the impulsive and the planners. And, which is worse: only Nobre supporters bothered to answer the poll.

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BufferWorld celebrity Bruce Buffer was recently in Brazil launching his book: a take on the backstage of the UFC mixed martial arts circus. A buffer fan took the opportunity to hand him a gift: a retro Palmeiras jersey. Buffer seemed delighted and expressed his appreciation for Brazilian women and now, also, for Palmeiras. Welcome to the family, Bruce. Before you know it, you’ll be shouting…

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Barcos_Gremio.
Upon returning to Porto Alegre, some of Grêmio’s players were verbally abused by supporters awaiting at the airport, ventilating their anger after Wednesday’s defeat to Corinthians. Barcos was one of the main targets: “Go back to Palmeiras, you Argentine piece of sh*t” echoed in the hall, among other things.

Now, the question is simple:
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At the beginning of last week, Palmeiras’ mission was difficult: close the gap – then at six points – to the first team out of the relegation zone (Coritiba) and win at least six out of the remaining ten games. Now, after Thursday’s highly frustrating display against Coritiba and yesterday’s shortcoming against Náutico, nothing but a miracle saves Palmeiras from spending quality time in the Serie B next season.

With the slipknot around our neck and drumrolls filling the air, Palmeiras now leave for Salvador, state of Bahia. Wednesday, 7:30pm at the Pituaçu stadium, the Verdão throw their last chips in the pot as they take on Bahia – the team of former Palmeiras interim coach Jorginho (substituted by Muricy Ramalho in mid 2009, remember) and one of the best performing squads in the second half of the Brasileirão. It’s Bahia’s position we need to take, and beating them on Wednesday means closing the gap to six points with seven rounds to go. Mathematically possible. But is it even sane to believe in a resurrection of the Palmeiras squad?

The squad… What’s left of it, that is. Against Náutico, Kleina was without Valdivia, Barcos, Henrique, Maurício Ramos, Marcos Assunção, Maikon Leite and Daniel Carvalho. Some of these should be back against Bahia (Henrique and Maurício Ramos at least) while others continue vetoed by the medical department or suspended (Thiago Heleno and Juninho). Absentees, absentees…

President Tirone has been more absent than ever. No, absent doesn’t quite cover it: he’s actually gone into hiding. The weekend at the Palmeiras Club House was tense to say the least, with several verbal clashes – some of which escalated to a physical level – taking place between members of political opposites. We saw smaller groups of younger members walking the grounds and forcefully demanding changes; many a conseglieri – and especially those loyal to the current administration and/or tied to former president Mustafá Contursi – came under heavy fire. “Acabou a paz” (Peace is over) was the slogan: no counsellor or director can expect to enjoy a quiet moment at the club if perceived as part of the problem and not the solution.

Conrado Cacace of the Verdazzo is throwing the towel in relation to remaining in the top division and has already refocused on some complicated tasks ahead. How to achieve them he doesn’t know, but among the priorities are:

# the immediate removal of Tirone and the rest of the directors
# the dissolution of Palmeiras’ Deliberative and Fiscal councils
# the formulation of new statutes
# the creation of a transitory governing body
# elections through direct vote taking place in the first semester of 2013.

He continues: “Coupe? Revolution? The name doesn’t matter. Palmeiras can’t wait for the normal turn of events as set out in the current statutes – statutes written up by the same vermin that orchestrated the political scene resulting in the deadlock we’re in today. Out with Mustafá, Frizzo, Tirone, Piraci, Vergamini and all the rest of the responsible. Leave Palmeiras to the palmeirenses.”

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I’m away for the rest of the week, heading into the jungle without any access to communication. As there will be no updates in the following days, here’s a little something for you guys to think about:
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Chael Sonnen is a MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter from the USA. His biggest nemesis is current UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva. They have met once in the Octagon, in a title match in August 2007, in which Sonnen, after having pounded Silva for four rounds, lost due to a spectacular triangle choke applied by the Brazilian.

Silva is an outspoken Corinthians supporter which recently landed him a sponsorship contract with the club. Sonnen, who is a major league trash talker, has been spicing up the rematch that should take place early next year by claiming to be a Palmeiras supporter. This is of course nothing but a provocative stunt, but Sonnen is good at it: the other day, he even announced on twitter that he was going to wear a Palmeiras jersey on fight day and rounded off the tirade with a “chupa Corinthians” (literarily “suck on this”).

Anything Palmeiras would like to know your opinion on what stance Palmeiras should adopt in regard to fighter Chael Sonnen. Should he be offered a sponsorship deal? After all, wouldn’t it be crazy to lose out on an opportunity to strengthen the Palmeiras brand internationally and in the World’s fastest growing sport: MMA? If that’s your position, the first option is your choice in the poll below.

Another approach would be sending Sonnen a jersey, a DVD, even wishing him god luck, but not making much fuzz about i. A little bit of publicity is always good. But just a little bit (this was actually the stance taken by the Palmeiras administration).

Palmeiras could let Sonnen do his thing, but leave it at that. After all, he’s no palmeirense and Palmeiras have no business in MMA, at least not for the time being. If this is your opinion, the third poll option suits you well.

Some of you might think Sonnen shouldn’t talk about Palmeiras in the first place, much less wear the jersey. Who is he to represent Palmeiras? And what if he loses the fight, wouldn’t that make us look bad?

Finally, and on the other side of the scale, we find the last poll option: sending Sonnen a clear message in order to make him and anybody else understand that Palmeiras is to serve nobody’s personal interests.

Please vote!

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Poll: you and your team jersey

Palmeiras do not play before Sunday, so here I present two little polls (there’s  a subtle but important difference between the two; please take your time to think it through and answer faithfully) to keep things interesting while the sushi knifes are being sharpened… ; )

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