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Palmeiras have announced the signing of Cruzeiro’s left-back Diogo Barbosa. The 25-year-old is Palmeiras’ second confirmed reinforcement for the 2018 season, Botafogo centre-back Emerson Santos being the first, signed already in August.

An early talent, Barbosa played for Vasco da Gama at the tender age of 18, but buckled under pressure. For a number of years he proceeded his career in smaller first and second division teams before returning to Rio de Janeiro in 2016 to play for Botafogo. Much more seasoned, he had a great year and caught the eye of the mineiros, who signed him at the end of the season. At Cruzeiro he continued his upward trajectory, crowned by decisive performances that culminated in the 2017 Brazil Cup title.
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Barbosa is strong in both offense and defence and currently considered one of the most regular wingers in Brazilian football. He will certainly go straight into Palmeiras’ starting eleven, especially as Egídio is on his way out (back to Cruzeiro, apparently) and Zé Roberto retiring. Other competitors for the position include returning Victor Luis (on loan at Botafogo until the end of the season), midfielder Michel Bastos and centre-back Juninho.

Palmeiras are paying Cruzeiro €1.5 million for 25% of the economic rights of the athlete. The remaining 75% are with an investment bank and can be purchased by Palmeiras at a later stage. A few days ago, a financially more advantegous offer for the player was made by Dutch club Ajax, but Barbosa had already made up his mind. Good choice.

Not that Cruzeiro wanted Barbosa gone… Truth is, the club’s finances are in a bad shape and they simply had to release him. Raposa supporters could be happier.  

Welcome and best of luck, Diogo!

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Alberto Valentim followed up his 1-3 debut victory away against Atlético Goianense with a 2-0 against Ponte Preta and, today, another convincing 1-3 away victory, this time in Porto Alegre against former runner-up Grêmio. Atlético and Ponte are in the relegation zone, and Grêmio today fielded an alternative line-up, as their priority is next Wednesday´s Libertadores quarterfinal. Nevertheless, Valentim has certainly succeeded in implementing some ideas of his own in these last couple of weeks and Palmeiras are faster, lighter, with players less troubled by excessive defensive task involving a lot of running due to Cuca´s man-to-man marking system. Keno, Tchê Tchê and Mayke are pulling the wagon, putting out extraordinary performances. Borja has been given more pitch time and has corresponded accordingly. The long-awaited mesh seems finally to have arrived. And with Mano Menezes a few days back announcing he has extended with Cruzeiro for another two seasons, suddenly the outlook for Alberto Valentim has shifted considerably. Certainly he has the backing of the squad and the supporters. Valentim however states he is solely concentrating on the tasks ahead, one game at the time, which is wise of him.
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With eight rounds to go, Palmeiras are the runner-up with 53 points, 6 points behind Corinthians. Our rival are one game short: tomorrow, they visit Botafogo, currently seventh in the tables. The Brasileirão everyone treated as a done deal two months ago is shaping up to be quite the thing. Trust me: every single corintiano is fearfully gazing in the rear view mirror.

Palmeiras next commitment is on Monday 30 October, at home, against Cruzeiro. After that, Corinthians await at the Itaqueirão… *Thump Thump*.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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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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Yellow and black filling stands, the Isidro a wasp’s nest.

Patches yellow on a fast, irregular, unfriendly stage.

Green halfway through turn yellow, cornered, tired.

The result a reflection of deflection.

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Yesterday, both São Paulo FC and Corinthians were eliminated from the Brazil Cup – the latter by Internacional of Porto Alegre, who today drew Palmeiras as opponent in the group of 16. First leg at the Allianz Parque in mid-May, second at the Beira Rio a week or two later. The dates mark Palmeiras’ entry into the tournament.

Right-defender Lucas Taylor is back at Palmeiras after having spent 2016 at Paraná and Criciúma, before playing the 2017 São Paulo championship for Red Bull. Palmeiras have kept a steady eye on the 22-year-old, raised at the club’s youth divisions. By the looks if it, Taylor has evolved enough to render him a space in the squad.

U17Speaking of the youth divisions, Palmeiras’ U17 and U18 both recently came out victorious from two international tournaments. The U17 bagged the Scopigno Cup, in Italy, beating Dynamo Kiev 2-0 in the final. Palmeiras midfielder Alan was elected best player of the tournament, Daniel was top scorer (4) and Artur Itiro was elected best coach. The other teams in the Scopigno tournament were Pescara, Rieti, Lazio, Cagliari, Zenit, Ternara, Teramo and L’Aquila.

U18Almost simultaneously, the Palmeiras U18 beat Croatian HNK Rijeka 2-1 to lift the Bellinzona trophy in Switzerland; an impressive feat by Palmeiras, as half of the U18 squad stayed in Brazil to compete in the U20 Brazil Cup. Defensive midfielder Matheus Neris was elected best player of the tournament. This was the third time Palmeiras won the Bellinzona tournament (2007 and 2016). Other teams included Grasshopper, Honved Budapest, Brøndby and Inter Milan.

In the last couple of weeks, Palmeiras extended the contract of three players in the youth divisions: aforementioned Matheus Neris (18) and Patrick (17) – both midfielders – and centre-back Fabrício (17). All three are now on contracts until end of 2018 and will play for Palmeiras U20.

Palmeiras have also announced the signing of forward Yan, from Vitória. The arrival of the promising 18-year-old is part of the arrangement that sealed Cleiton Xavier’s transfer from Palmeiras to Vitória at the beginning of the year. Yan comes as a loan until 31 January 2018, Palmeiras having the option to buy. Yan drew attention in 2015 as top scorer in Vitória’s successful U17 Brazil Cup campaign. He has also played for Brazil in youth competitions.

In addition to the aforementioned players, Palmeiras have strengthened the youth divisions with Chilean centre-back Diego González (from O’Higgins), midfielder Gabriel Menino (Guarani) and, from Paraná, centre-back Willian Galvão and defensive midfielder Gabriel Furtado.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Palmeiras and Crefisa last week announced the renewal of their sponsorship agreement, securing the highest amount paid to any club in South America and the 10th highest in the world, pushing Juventus (US$ 19 million/year) from the list. Although figures were not disclosed by Crefisa president Leila Pereira and Palmeiras president Maurício Gagliotti at the announcement, they are known to sum approximately US$ 24 million/year, for two years, bonuses for championship titles not included.

In addition to the sponsorship deal, Crefisa continues to boost Palmeiras’ contracting power. The acquired outstanding 50% of Dudu’s economic rights is an example, the recent signing of Miguel Borja, at a US$ 10.5 million price tag, another.

In 2016, Crefisa saw a record profit, some US$ 325 million. It is hard to calculate the impact of Crefisa’s increased visibility on its profits, but without doubt the deal with Palmeiras brought the company into the spotlights. Some sports journalists insinuate money laundering to explain the relatively high sponsorship deal, ignoring the splendid results Crefisa presents. It is rather revolting how a well-established private financial institution suffers accusations, while state-run companies like Petrobras and Caixa use public funds to sponsor many a team in Brazil, little questions asked.  

Below, a list of the ten biggest sponsorship deals worldwide in football (according to Forbes).

#1 Manchester United (Chevrolet) – US$ 80 million/year

#2 Chelsea (Yokahoma Rubber) – US$ 57 million/year

#3 Manchester City (Etihad) – US$ 57 million/year (including stadium naming rights)

#4 Liverpool (Standard Chartered) – US$ 43 million/year

#5 Arsenal (Emirates) – US$ 43 million/year (including stadium naming rights)

#6 Barcelona (Qatar Airways) – US$ 41 million/year

#7 Bayern Munchen (Deutche Telecom) – US$ 34 million/year

#8 Real Madrid (Emirates) – US$ 34 million/year

#9 Paris Saint-Germain (Emirates) – US$ 28 million/year

#10 Palmeiras (Crefisa) – US$ 24 million/year
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Palmeiras v Internacional - Brasileirao Series A 2016

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