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Tomorrow Saturday, Palmeiras enter the Allianz Parque with a mission: revert the 3-0 disadvantage against Ponte Preta to proceed to the finals of the São Paulo state championship.

This is the message supporters – earlier today, outside Palmeiras’ training grounds – conveyed to players, coach and country.
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#UntilTheFinalWhistle

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In Brazilian football in general, and at Palmeiras in particular, time is never on your side. Palmeiras maintained all key ingredients of last year’s successful mix, except for one: the coach. Cuca, for personal reasons, has taken a break from football. In mid-December, Eduardo Baptista was announced as his replacement for the 2017 season.

Baptista debuted in the Paulista state championship beating Botafogo/SP 1-0, then lost 1-0 away to Ituano. These results, and the rather poor football presented, was enough to have segments of Palmeiras supporters raise hell on social media and the ultras of Mancha Verde last Thursday, with the scorecard still at 0-0 against São Bernardo, chant “Hey, Eduardo, pay attention, we want championship titles!”, before requesting the return of Cuca. Palmeiras went on to beat São Bernardo 2-0, goals by Dudu and Jean.

The topic of the week has been “pressure”. Even a seasoned player like Michel Bastos says he was taken by surprise by the volume of demands for expressive results and progress this early in the season. Everyone at the club, from directors down to players, all say the same: implementing a new style of play takes time: the squad and Baptista need a few more weeks to make it work. The premature ruckus has of course been picked up by the media, only adding more heat.
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Although the São Paulo championship is a traditional tournament and obviously has its merits, one cannot deny that it primarily serves as a laboratory for modelling and tuning the squad ahead of the Brazilian championship, the Brazil Cup and international commitments (this year, in Palmeiras’ case, the Libertadores Cup). Being allowed a certain tranquillity at the beginning of the season, while conducting experiments, is crucial for the development of the team and the overall outcome throughout the year.

For some supporters, this is all bull. They feel performance is driven by pressure, and must surface quickly. More importantly, they stress their right to complain, as supporters, and as ticket holders. The effect of the pressure applied seems secondary to the right of exercising it: a curious standpoint from a segment who normally states “Palmeiras above everything” and “Eternal love”.

Last year, supporters filled the airport to wave off the squad ahead of an important away game. They also gathered outside the training facilities with flags, flares and instruments, players stepping off the bus to thank the crowds. A few weeks back, supporters in large numbers were at the airport a 6am to welcome Miguel Borja. The potential for supporters to influence outcomes, both positively and negatively, is a given.

Luckily, most seem to understand that Baptista and his men indeed need to be given time: while the ultras last Thursday expressed their dissatisfaction, a large majority of “regular” supporters at the Allianz Parque booed them down. 

We are less than two hours from kick-off. The team’s performance against Linense, away, will be the determining factor for any amount of tranquillity Baptista and the squad will enjoy ahead of next week’s derby against Corinthians.

Patience! Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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To what extent football clubs should strive to be agents for social inclusion, community development and civic spirit is a cultural and ideological question. We have touched upon the issue previously, in this article. In short, there is no right and wrong, only a sliding scale, based on personal and collective preferences.

The same cannot be said about human rights and civil liberties: these are guaranteed by the constitution of any democracy, as well as a number of international treaties. Human rights are absolute and universal, no sliding scale whatsoever. And although no country fulfil all human rights all the time, they do strive to do so, at least in discourse.

Violation of human rights cannot be tolerated, neither any relaxation of their legal status. The same applies to any arbitrary restriction of civil liberties.

This is why it is so important to thoroughly dissect and discuss what has been happening around the Allianz Parque on game days as of late. What used to be the area palmeirenses gravitated to – either on their way to the stadium or just for spending time with fellow palmeirenses eating, drinking, socialising, and watching the game in any of the local bars – has become a no-go zone for anyone not an Allianz Parque ticket holder.
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Early morning on game day, police set up barricades, creating an iron ring around the stadium and its immediate surroundings. You are only allowed access if you show your ID and a valid ticket to the game. The initiative is backed by a state of São Paulo public prosecutor, who claims the restriction on any citizen’s fundamental freedom of movement is necessary to secure law and order: the “unauthorised selling of street food” being one of the concerns, to “limit the number of thefts” another. The “welfare of residents” a third.

Remember, we are talking about a location where Brazil’s first official football championship, the Paulista of 1902, took place. A location always intimately linked with sports. A neighbourhood that organically developed around the stadium, not the other way around.

A new level of absurdity was reached last Sunday, when seven-year-old Maria Eduarda was barred from passing the checkpoint least she washed the paint off her face. Her father tried to argue against the interpretation of “no masked person is allowed entrance”, but to no use: the green and white, so proudly applied, was removed in a mix of water and tears.
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Supporters are protesting loudly, questioning both the legal aspects and the fact that the no-go zone is applied only to the Allianz Parque, no other stadium.

Palmeiras have not only, albeit discretely, approved the measures, but actually been collaborating, providing third-party staff to help police with the logistics of verifying IDs and tickets at checkpoints.

As frequently stated, Palmeiras is a club used to battle everything and everyone. In 1942, that included the very Government. Our directors need to take a good look in the mirror before siding with abusive, fascist practices.

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Stepping into the Congonhas airport on Tuesday, heading for Belo Horizonte and Thursday’s game against Atlético Mineiro, the Palmeiras squad was greeted to a sending-off of the kind few of the players, if any, had witnessed before: an estimated 3.000 supporters had gathered to show their appraisal and encourage the men. Emotionally touched and honoured, players joined in in the choir – singing, filming, becoming one with the crowd. A rare moment of symbiosis, a thing of beauty.
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The game itself was every bit as tense as expected, Atlético applying customary pressure and exercising greater possession, our players closing ranks, biding their time and launching rapid counter-attacks, one of which saw Gabriel Jesus on target, ending his eight-game streak without finding the net. His tears of joy and relief say it all.
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In the second half, Atlético found the equalizer through Lucas Pratto, the Argentine striker enjoying a splendid moment at the club and national squad, just like our Gabriel Jesus. Tactical obedience loosened up slightly as fatigue kicked in on both sides, numerous chances being created. It could have gone either way, but the draw was fair and just about right for Palmeiras, now only needing two victories in remaining three rounds to mathematically secure the title.
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Two home games remain – against Botafogo on Sunday and Chapecoense the following Sunday – then Vitória away, before the club’s top scorer (12) in this year’s edition of the Brasileirão joins Manchester City. “I got emotional, because these are my last games for Palmeiras”, Gabriel Jesus explained after the final whistle. “Ever since I first pulled on this shirt, I have honoured it, in all the games. Of course, sometimes you lack in technique. Today, I felt tired, which is normal, but the sacrifice was worth it. Not only because of the goal, but also for being with my comrades. This is a united group, of which I am proud to be part”, he concluded.

In the wee hours of Friday, Palmeiras left Belo Horizonte for Atibaia, where conditions are ideal for concentration, rest and practice ahead of Sunday’s clash with Botafogo. A combination of results can actually seal the competition already this week: victory for the Verdão, paired with Cruzeiro defeating Santos and Flamengo losing points to Coritiba, will set corks shooting through the air.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Our supporters have been using the pig since 1986, convinced that Palmeiras’ then director of marketing João Roberto Gobatto had indeed come up with a solution to neutralize frequent smears from rival supporters (read full story here).

The hatcher of the plan has finally received his recognition: before last Sunday’s game against Internacional, Palmeiras officially presented The Pig as the club’s second mascot, baptising it “Gobatto”. Success is a given.
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Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Most often, anxiety keeps us from getting a correct reading on things. However, not even the blind are oblivious to what is happening right now at Palmeiras.

# Squad is 100% united.

# The goal is set: the Brazilian championship title, last won by Palmeiras in 1994.

# Players and coach Cuca display complete synergy in every act and speech.

# Supporters – all supporters – are behind the team in every sense of the word.

Saturday morning, hundreds of supporters gathered outside Palmeiras’ training facilities with instruments, banners, smoke and fireworks in a magnificent display of love and affection. As gates opened up to release the player’s bus after training practice, it stopped, and the squad got out, giving the gathered supporters a standing ovation.
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Everyone in the squad wants this title badly. For themselves, and for the collective. Dudu, after yesterday’s clash against Internacional – one more of those hard-fought crucial victories – cried on the pitch. There is a genuine, emotional bond here, and it grows stronger by the day. Our players know how much this title means to us supporters, and they truly want us to have it.

squad_circle2016As the final whistle blew and the Allianz Parque erupted in cheers, the squad formed a kneeling circle, at the centre of the pitch, taking a moment of serenity in the middle of all the havoc. A moment of serenity, giving thanks to one more victory, while also reminding themselves that there are four more rounds to go, and that nothing is yet won.

Which is not quite correct. This squad, Cuca, all the staff, the directors… They have all won our respect.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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A short summary, in English, of the full text in Portuguese:

Dear Palmeiras supporter,

All of us are tired of how Palmeiras are being treated by mainstream media, and the situation has escalated with the team’s growing success. Although the syndrome is found in almost all TV channels, ESPN in particular has turned the bashing of Palmeiras into a form of art. On social media, this has led to escalating verbal assaults between Palmeiras supporters and sports journalists, reaching a point where they now take over the agenda. 

In light of the above, a selected group of the independent Mídia Palestrina proposes a solution: a clean break.

Initiating with aforementioned ESPN – more specifically their twitter account @ESPNagora – we propose an end to discussions, verbal assaults, following on social media, RTs and the generally providing of audience. We propose an #UnfollowEspnDia31, a date to not only unfollow ESPN but also to generally clean your timeline from all those accounts frequently getting on your nerves by disrespecting Palmeiras in one way or the other.

31 October. The day of #UnfollowEspnDia31.

— ooo —

Caro torcedor palmeirense,

Nosso Verdão segue liderando o Brasileirão e mais um ano caminha para um final verde. Cuca vem impondo uma regularidade ao time que nos enche de orgulho e confiança.

Apesar disso, grande parte da mídia esportiva teima em se referir a nosso time de forma parcial, depreciativa. Exigem futebol “bonito”, olham com desdém para nossa campanha cujos números são incontestáveis e usam seus teclados e microfones para emitir opiniões muitas vezes carregadas de rancor ou simplesmente clubismo.

Nenhuma emissora escapa. Em todas, há pelo menos um profissional que parece ter como missão principal espezinhar o Palmeiras, muitas vezes embasado em fatos distorcidos que levam a conclusões ruins, falácias que manipulam a opinião pública.

Um canal em particular que se especializou nisso: a ESPN. Apesar de manter em seus quadros bons jornalistas, como em toda emissora, em geral o tom das discussões quando o assunto é o Palmeiras é de ranço extremo com o clube, com os dirigentes, com o treinador e com a torcida. Um jornalista em particular personifica esse mau jornalismo neste ano de disputa entre Palmeiras e Flamengo: Mauro Cezar Pereira, cujo amor pelo time carioca não permite que faça análises equilibradas e isentas como a profissão exige, principalmente num canal de tanto alcance.

A internet abriu a possibilidade de tornar o que era uma via de mão única, em uma via de duas mãos. Em tempos de Twitter, Instagram e Facebook, é normal que a torcida em geral se revolte com esse tipo de atitudes antiprofissionais e que use as redes sociais para demonstrar essa indignação. As mensagens poderiam ser bem mais amenas se o tratamento dado ao Palmeiras fosse mais digno.

O palmeirense tem a seu dispor uma mídia alternativa, clubista e parcial, que sempre vai tratar os assuntos que envolvem nosso time com paixão, mas com muita honestidade. Os palmeirenses que consomem o conteúdo dos sites palmeirenses podem até não concordar com as opiniões, mas jamais se sentirão desrespeitados.

Não cabe ao torcedor ofender nenhum jornalista através das redes sociais. Entendemos que o caminho desse tipo de interação, utilizando a linguagem das arquibancadas, em vez de levar a uma reflexão e a ajustes na conduta, só gera desgaste, para todos.

Por isso, em mais uma iniciativa inédita, os sites palmeirenses independentes promovem uma alternativa melhor: o rompimento.

A emissora escolhida para simbolizar esse rompimento com a mídia opinativa é a ESPN, por tudo o que foi citado. Na segunda-feira, dia 31 de outubro, para simbolizar esse rompimento, vamos todos fazer um unfollowzaço no Twitter da emissora (@ESPNagora). Vamos deixar de ler, retuitar e compartilhar suas publicações, ou mesmo de comentá-las. E como consequência, deixar de assisti-los. Se querem fazer jornalismo desta forma, simplesmente não interessa ao torcedor palmeirense. Nossa resposta não será pelo confronto. Vamos apenas riscá-los de nossas vidas.

A torcida do Palmeiras, representada pelos sites abaixo, espera que desta forma a tensão entre palmeirenses e parte da imprensa diminua ou, quem sabe, chegue ao fim. Ninguém mais aguenta esse ambiente destrutivo. Como em qualquer relacionamento que não dá certo, em vez de confronto, o rompimento é a melhor saída. A torcida palestrina já tem a mídia palmeirense. Ninguém precisa da ESPN. E que sirva para outros canais também. O #UnfollowEspnDia31 pode ser estendido a qualquer jornalista ou emissora que você olha atravessado em suas redes sociais, mas que, sabe-se lá por que, você ainda mantém em sua rede. Não se desgaste mais, não passe raiva. Faça uma faxina em sua TL. Dê preferência sempre a quem trata o Palmeiras com respeito.

Dia 31 de outubro, dia do #UnfollowEspnDia31.

Anything Palmeiras
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Clube Mondo Verde
Famiglia Palestra
Palmeiras Online
PTD – Palmeiras Todo Dia
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Apoio
@DNAlviverde
@edersep
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@PdePalmeiras
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