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.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!


“Regardless of Sunday’s result, Cuca stays until the end of the year”, Palmeiras president Galiotte declared the other day. A firm statement with a feather’s weight: anyone remotely familiarised with Brazilian football knows Cuca was under substantial pressure ahead of today’s derby against relegation-prone São Paulo FC.

With Prass between the posts, Cuca initiated in a 4-4-2, repeating Moisés and Guerra together on the midfield, joined by Tchê Tchê and Bruno Henrique.  Michel Bastos on the left flank, Jean on the right. Dracena and Luan centre lock. Willian and Deyverson up front.

Palmeiras were vastly superior throughout the 90 minutes, with three times as many shots fired. Nevertheless, the game was a cardiac test, with The Enemy opening up the scorecard early in the first half, Palmeiras turning the tables after two quick ones by Willian, then the equaliser just before halftime.

Cuca promoted three substitutions during the second half: Keno for Bruno Henrique, Thiago Santos for Deyverson and Hyoran for Guerra. Keno and Hyoran scored the winners. Highlights below.

After 22 rounds out of 38, Palmeiras rest in fourth with 36 points, 14 points behind leader Corinthians, who are finally showing signs of fatigue. Too bad Palmeiras, and not only Palmeiras, threw in the towel early in the Brasileirão, giving priority to the Brazil Cup and, in particular, the Libertadores cup. Kicked out of both, there are obvious lessons to be drawn from Palmeiras’ 2017 campaign.  

The Brazilian championship now takes a two-week pause due to World Cup qualifiers. Today’s victory brings a certain level of peace to Cuca and the squad. Training and rest, with the right mind-set, will hopefully do wonders. Brushing up on defence is a priority: it has been shaky for weeks and today was no exception, to state it mildly.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

On 26 August 1914, while Europe experienced the first month of what history would later denominate World War I, Italian immigrants and descendants of immigrants in São Paulo formed the “Palestra Italia Sports Club”. Little did they know they were giving birth to the most successful Brazilian football club of all times.

Today, as the Palestra Italia/Palmeiras celebrate 103 years of existence, my thoughts go out to all of those who made it possible, in the previous decade and in this one, inside or outside the club’s structure, near or far, wittingly or unwittingly.

It is Palmeiras’ birthday, but I am the one receiving the present. As I do every day, for taking part in this endeavour, for being a member of the family, for modestly contributing and receiving feedback from supporters near and far.

Today and always, AVANTI PALESTRA!

On one side, a rested bunch, eager to show improvement after a week of training. On the other, a team that played in Japan on Tuesday, returned to Brazil on Thursday after a 30-hour ride, daydreaming about getting out of the relegation zone.

Nothing but a perfect setting for Cuca and Palmeiras to show evolution, pleasing the crowds with Moisés and Guerra together for the first time on the midfield, and with Willian back in offense after four weeks in the medical department.

As expected, Chape played defensively, exploring the occasional counter-attack. Palmeiras showed their habitual difficulty in penetrating two compact lines of four, not helped by Chapecoense taking every opportunity to delay the game, including the use of excessive force. We were heading toward a goalless first half, but a badly positioned defence accepted a set piece from Chape, leaving Fernando Prass to scoop the ball out from the back of the net.

Palmeiras came back more aggressive, with Tchê Tchê and Keno replacing Thiago Santos and Roger Guedes respectively, and things improved somewhat. In the last 20 minutes, Borja came on for Willian. It was play against one goal, pressure a plenty, but with a pinball feel to it, the fluke factor reigning. Far from impressive.

In the dying minute, another moment of inattention from our defense to further drive the point home.  

The result is unacceptable. Palmeiras’ performance is unacceptable. Nine months ago, there practically was no Chapecoense, team and staff wiped out in the dreadful plane crash in Colombia. Palmeiras’ excuse for less than expected performance throughout the year has been the coach swap, Cuca for Baptista, in early May (mind you Chape swapped coach some two months ago). Put those two club realities – Palmeiras and Chapecoense – into perspective.

Cuca has no credit left, no more fat to burn. Next Sunday, Palmeiras receive relegation-threatened São Paulo FC at the Allianz Parque. Anything but victory against the archenemy will see Cuca in a very uncomfortable position. And yes, that is quite the understatement.

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.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

Palmeiras’ mission: not concede a goal, and score at least one.

With neither Mayke nor Jean perfectly fit, Cuca opted for Tchê Tchê on the right flank. Same with Guerra; the Venezuelan started on the bench, Dudu pulled back to exercise the playmaking role, feeding Keno, Roger Guedes and Deyverson. The rest of the starting eleven was as expected, with Jailson between the posts, Egídio to the left, Mina and Luan centre lock behind watchdogs Thiago Santos and Bruno Henrique.

We were treated to a great game. Much pace, very physical, 100% dedication from both sides. Barcelona de Guayaquil are a tricky opponent, tactically obedient, who know where their strengths lie.

During the 90 minutes, two out of three Palmeiras substitutions were forced: Mina fractured a toe toward the end of the first half, Edu Dracena stepping in (Mina will be out for 2-3 months). In halftime, Moisés came on for Guedes, allowing Dudu to reassume a more advanced position to the right. Same Dudu, who later, completely exhausted, gave way to Guerra. Perhaps that was the defining feature: Palmeiras playing the first half without much creativity on the midfield. However, neither Guerra nor Moisés were in shape to stand the trail and Cuca new it.

It was nevertheless a joy to see Moisés back on the pitch: the game immediately gravitated towards him as he commanded the midfield, controlling the pace and distributing passes. The goal was his, a little gem, Dudu responsible for the assist.

Palmeiras were centimetres away from 2-0, Keno absolutely incredulous after hitting the crossbar.

Penalty shootout. Guerra and Tchê converted, Bruno Henrique did not. Keno and Moisés then converted and Jailson saved Barcelona’s fifth to leave it 4-4. Egídio blew Palmeiras’ first alternate and curtains down.

Earlier this week, the Verdazzo published an excellent article, highlighting that everything is evolution, everything is process, that an elimination would be terrible but not the end of the world. The work must continue, errors must be corrected and Palmeiras improve what is already there to, in 2018, emerge stronger than ever. True, everyone expected trophies this year; after all, Palmeiras are the current Brazilian champions, enjoy the largest sponsorship deal, the largest supporter membership programme, draw the biggest crowds to Brazil’s best stadium, make the most money and sign the best players. Only to prove, once more, that football is not an exact science.

The challenge today and for the next few weeks is to exercise rationale, finding a state of normality within this universe of disappointment. Evaluate the positive and the negative, make adjustments, train hard, play hard. And go skunk hunting.

Yesterday, our supporters once again put on an amazing show: the 360-degree mosaic, the enormous banner, the instruments… Beautiful. Winning or losing, it was beautiful. Nothing can take that away. (thank you Leonardo Fioretti for the video)

Inhale. Exhale. Today is a new day.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

During WWII, Brazil sided with the Allies. Soon, any reference to the Axis powers was prohibited. These were difficult times in Brazil for persons and institutions of German, Italian or Japanese descent.

On the day preceding the São Paulo state championship final, the Verdão was forced to change name, from Palestra Italia to Palmeiras.

On game day, 19 minutes into the second half, Palmeiras were beating São Paulo FC 3 goals to 1. A penalty was marked in Palmeiras’ favour and to general astonishment, the opponent abandoned the pitch, ending the duel and confirming Palmeiras’ championship title.

Poetically, Palestra died a leader and Palmeiras were born a champion. The feat became known as “Arrancada Herócia”, the Heroic Jolt.

This season’s 3rd uniform is dark green, featuring gold details on the sleeves, collar and sides.


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