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As of today, Palmeiras’ 2016-2017 first kit is available in stores. The new jersey features five vertical stripes in shades of green, and the characteristic three Adidas stripes have been moved from the shoulders to the side of the uniform. On the collar, an Alviverde Imponente inscription, a direct reference to the club anthem. On the sleeves, discrete details in white and red in tribute of Palmeiras’ Italian origins.

Our players will wear the new uniform on 14 May, in the first round of the Brazilian championship, at the Allianz Parque against Atlético Paranaense.
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No, it wasn’t the start of the Brazilian Championship we were dreaming off, drawing with Atlético’s rotation squad at the Allianz Parque. But Palmeiras were not in their full splendour either:  forwards Leandro Pereira and Cristaldo injured, midfielders Arouca and Cleiton Xavier likewise. Nothing serious in any of the cases, but the impact was nevertheless  felt as coach Oswaldo failed to provide solutions: in the absence of Arouca, Gabriel was overburdened; Robinho – pulled back – disappeared; Gabriel Jesus was of little use with his back constantly against the goal. Palmeiras frittered passes like we haven’t seen so far in 2015, while Atlético Mineiro seemed much more focused. In the end, the draw – Palmeiras finding the equalizer in the very last seconds of the came – could be considered a fair result. And a bit of a relief.
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Yesterday was the first time Gabriel Jesus played the full 90 minutes. Expectations are still high regarding the future of the kid, but perhaps more realistic: he’s had his opportunities but not yet scored and the adaption from the U20 to the major league is taking time. Coach Oswaldo has been devoting special attention to Jesus, often having him stay a bit longer after regular training to work on positioning and finishing touches.

Yesterday also marked the debut of left-defender Egídio. The long-awaited paperwork finally arrived from Ukraine on Friday, just in time for Palmeiras to have him registered and in playing condition ahead of Saturday’s game. Egídio came on in the second half and looked good: I expect him to enter the starting eleven already coming week, either displacing Zé Roberto toward the middle or, more likely, alternating the bench with the veteran.

Speaking of veterans: Palmeiras this week finally reached an agreement to end the contract with centre-back Lúcio, who ever since the end of 2014 has been receiving his wages, although not anymore part of the working squad. The former World Champion has been negotiating with clubs from China and Australia, but without reaching a conclusion. After 47 games and two games for the Verdão, the club and athlete now part ways.

While some depart, others arrive. Palmeiras on Thursday announced having reached an agreement with 29-year-old attacking midfielder Fellype Gabriel, who started his career at Flamengo. The player has previously worked with coach Oswaldo both at Botafogo and Japanese club Kashima Antlers. Fellype’s arrival is one more indication that Palmeiras are preparing for a post-Valdivia experience.

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For months, Palmeiras and Adidas have been negotiating a new agreement, Palmeiras always making clear they are open to new proposals from competitors. And proposals have indeed arrived – the most interesting one from Puma – forcing Adidas to step up its game. Paulo Nobre has recently expressed optimism a new agreement will be reached with Adidas, and leaked photos of a supposedly new Palmeiras jersey, made by Adidas, reinforce the impression. I wouldn’t be surprised if a new agreement is announced within a week or two, where the former R$ 10 million/year (US$ 3.3 million) agreement has been substantially boosted, perhaps reaching R$ 15 million or more. After all, only a handful of teams in the world sell more Adidas jerseys than Palmeiras.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Leading sporting goods supplier Adidas, responsible for all of Palmeiras’ match and training gear, has invited Palmeiras to participate in an exchange: coach Kleina was asked which other Adidas-sponsored team, in Europe, he would like to visit. He picked Bayern Munich, current champions of the European Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup. Kleina is keen to learn more about the working methods adopted by Pep Guardiola, as well as the philosophy and overall approach that has boosted German football as a whole in the last few years. In exchange, Kleina will offer insights on the current trends in South American and Brazilian football, as well as working methods at Palmeiras.

Today Gilson Kleina spoke about the offer for the first time, expressing his excitement regarding the opportunity to see the work of the Spaniard up close, even though dates are yet to be decided upon.

“Adidas came to me, said they liked the work being developed here [at Palmeiras]. It will be an exchange of information. I chose Bayern due to German football currently developing different strategies.” the coach explained to a radio station.

Is this happening now because of the centenary, as a little treat? Perhaps. Or it might have been in Adidas’ mind for some time, only now materialising. Or it might be another example of how the Nobre administration, in just one year, has managed to “upgrade” Palmeiras in the eyes of the World. Your pick.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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With the clock approaching stoppage time, Palmeiras yesterday seemed to head for the first draw in 2014. XV de Piracicaba hadn’t dominated the game, but certainly cornered Palmeiras on numerous occasions, making keeper Prass deserve his pay check. With Kardec opening up the scorecard and XV equalising already in the first half, the second half continued with a certain advantage towards the home team, until they started to feel the fatigue. That’s when Palmeiras’ stronger bench made all the difference: Mendieta, Diogo and França were determining factors, with the unlikely hero of the night being the defensive midfielder, receiving a pass from Mendieta, tricking the defence and masterfully scoring the winner. Make sure to watch the highlights below.

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The Palmeiras squad keep on growing, as the ninth and tenth players were presented this week:

Paulo Henrique is a left-back, who can double as a centre-back. He was brought up at Santos but out of action most of 2013 due to a serious knee injury. With a one-year contract, he was thrown in as a joker upon the conclusion of the Bruno César signing, their careers being handled by the same player manager.

josimarDefensive midfielder Josimar has left Internacional of Porto Alegre to sign a one-year loan contract with Palmeiras. He has worked with Gilson Kleina before and comes with the coach’s full blessing. In early 2013, Palmeiras tried to sign him but his salary demands were unrealistic. Now, Palmeiras offered him the same amount as in 2013 but with inclusion of productivity clauses, as with all newly arriving athletes at the club. Deal closed.

Only a year of new management, new attitudes, new concepts, new procedures. Only a year, and perceptions regarding Palmeiras have changed considerable. Palmeiras are respected. Palmeiras are the place to be. Players with multiple offers opt for the Verdão. Bruno César, expected to debut against Corinthians on 16 February, even gave up on receiving US$ 800.000 – a debt Al Ahli wanted to pass on to Palmeiras – in order to speed up the transfer process. Yes, things have changed. And this is only the beginning. 

AllianzParqueFevNot only Palmeiras are growing, but so is the Allianz Parque. Our new home stands 82% concluded, and now in February grass will be planted. Escalators are working. Various tests are being carried out, like during the recent visit by a group of physically disabled who perambulated the stadium in search of bottlenecks.

New Adidas training jerseys were introduced last weekend at Palmeiras. They pay homage to the first truly great Argentine football club – the Racing Club de Avellaneda – who were Argentine champions no less than seven times between 1913 and 1919, earning the nickname “La Academia”. In the 60ies, Racing again stood out from the rest with an incredible squad, while in Brazil, Palmeiras were the team to beat. That generation of players at the Verdão inevitably also became known as “A Academia”. The jersey is a beautiful example of honouring and recognising history.
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Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Comes a time when you’ve had enough, when retribution is called for even if it harms you momentarily or permanently. Palmeiras have come to that point with Luis Felipe.

As you will remember, the young right-back signed an extension of his agreement with Palmeiras in April of last year, then a typo was discovered which altered (shortening) the time span of his contract. When presented with a corrected version, the player refused to sign unless granted a 400% salary raise.

Luis Felipe has then signed a pre-agreement with Benfica/POR, but is bound by contract to Palmeiras until March. Not only have Palmeiras decided not to field him, but he’s been separated from the rest of the squad, training in isolation. In addition, Palmeiras have now decided to take him to court.

I whole heartedly support this initiative. Of course Luis Felipe could have been useful for Palmeiras, even though in transit, but his attitude is nothing short of a disgrace. Seeking advantages at any price? We’ll make it expensive, punk.

— ooo —

In the meantime, the squad has seen the additions of offensive midfielder Marquinhos Gabriel and veteran centre-back Lúcio, now formally announced. Especially the arrival of Lúcio has been provoking quite the buzz, with media and everybody else curious to learn if he’ll redeem himself after the recent fiasco at SPFC. I think there’s a fair chance of that happening, but time will tell.

Palmeiras have played two training matches against smaller, local teams: a 0-2 defeat against Red Bull and, today, 4-1 against União Barbarense.

— ooo —

This week we also learnt that Palmeiras “only” purchased 67% of the economic rights of Leandro, corresponding to the two thirds that belonged to Grêmio. Thus, the price tag lands at roughly € 3.35 million. Better. But curious that we only came to know this several days after the deal was announced. And through the media. Not the ideal modus operandi. One would think Nobre and Co. had learnt a thing or two about communication with supporters after the disastrous Barcos experience. Think again.

There are no news on Moreira and Bruno César. In both cases, there are expectations from the other side of the negotiation table(s) for Palmeiras to cough up more cash. Not much, but still. Nobre has already proven to be quite the tough and patient negotiator. He might throw small bones, but will not go out of his way to secure any of the two players. Expectations are still high we’ll see signings any of these days now.

— ooo —

In the Sub-20 São Paulo Cup, Palmeiras yesterday were prematurely eliminated by Flamengo-SP, this after having only just advanced to the knockout phase. Certainly disappointing. Still, Kleina has observed the squad and seems inclined to give a few of the players opportunities in the A team, most notably left-back Mateus Muller, centre-back Gabriel Dias, midfielders Chistopher and Juninho, and forward Mateus Gonçalves.

— ooo —

WTorre and Palmeiras seem closer to an agreement. In a recent meeting between the two parties’ lawyers – without mediators – WTorre allegedly admitted to the possibility of giving in to Palmeiras’ claims, at least partially. This is good news: having the case brought up before arbitration would be both stressful and time consuming. Fingers crossed.

— ooo —

On 30 January, Palmeiras and Adidas present the new team jersey in grand style. There are rumours that a major sponsor will be announced simultaneously. I wouldn’t think so. If I were Adidas, I would want focus on the jersey, not the sponsor.

— ooo —

One last piece of news, hot off the presses: Palmeiras have hired Arnaldo Hase, the man behind making Santos FC’s YouTube channel the most visited among Brazilian football clubs. Hase is also bringing two ex-Santos co-workers to Palmeiras. Not only will the team be responsible for online content, but also for the TV Palmeiras programme aired on cable TV ahead of matches.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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With all due respect to São Caetano: tomorrow is the day Palmeiras return to the first division, and in great style before a sold-out Pacaembu. Even a draw would mathematically secure ascension, but expect a resounding victory.

amarelinhaThe Big Green will step on the pitch in canary yellow, paying homage to the Palmeiras squad who on 7 September 1965, in the inauguration game of the Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte, pulled on the National Team jersey to beat Uruguay 3-0 in a friendly. Pre-orders of the new Palmeiras jersey reached a record 5.000 within the first two weeks. Today, a picture finally leaked on the internet. Now that’s a mighty fine jersey. It does however come with a rather hefty price tag: R$ 249,00 or US$ 115,00.

f50Valdivia is back, and in style. Check out his new boots, yet another novelty in tomorrow’s clash. Only 2.000 pairs of this Adidas F50 model will be made, signed Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto. With imperial lions now guarding Valdivia, surely we’ll see an end to his frequent injuries.

Talita_Rocca_fullThere are more reasons to smile: pre-game, Palmeiras will premiere the “Palmeiras na TV” – a 25 minute long TV programme, scheduled to air twice a month on the football cable channel “Premiere”, part of the Globo network. Says director of marketing Marcelo Giannubilo: “There will be different and unexpected pieces, with news and backstage information. It’s all part of building the Palmeiras brand. A TV campaign, with a communication’s strategy, promotions and events, all lined up to a special plan due to the upcoming centenary.” Programme host will be Talita Rocca: journalist, model and, yes, palmeirense.

Oberdan Campeão Paulista 1942A piece of news destined to appear on the “Palmeiras na TV” is the recent decision by Palmeiras’ fiscal and deliberative councils to grace legendary keeper Oberdan Cattani with a bust at the Allianz Parque. Only three other players have received the honour: Waldemar Fiume, Junqueira and Ademir da Guia. A forth bust, for Saint Marcos, is in the making. At 94 years of age, Cattani is the only living person to have played for both Palestra Italia and Palmeiras. Better late than never: Cattani should have received the tribute long ago. Congratulations, Oberdan! Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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Oberdan

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Colour me bad

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While traditional teams like Vasco, Flamengo, Fluminense, Atlético Mineiro and São Paulo are sweating bullets in the lower half of the first division of the Brasileirão, in a seemingly parallel universe, Palmeiras continue their steady march toward ascension, last Saturday beating Atlético Goianense 1-3 then following up with a 3-0 against ASA. These last two games’ starting eleven came without a bunch of the usual suspects, either due to injury or for serving their national squads. Nevertheless, solid victories.

Some palmeirenses couldn’t care less with the good results, only lamenting the disastrous campaign of 2012 and counting down, day by day, the remainder of this season. Others try to find joy and inspiration in the team, certainly making an effort just as hard as the players to keep motivated. The “winning eleven” generation of Palmeiras supporters is likely looking for kicks elsewhere, cheering for “their” teams in one or several of the major European leagues while keeping the occasional eye on the Verdão, while others spice things up a bit placing English Premier League bets. Each palmeirense to his own advice, coping with the bureaucratic summing of points, trying not to go mad with boredom.

palteeWould you believe the “crisis” of the day, stirring up the temper of a considerable share of supporters on a variety of social media, concerned the colour (or rather the lack of colour) on a Palmeiras t-shirt just launched by Adidas? Personally, I think it looks great. Personally, I think nothing more of the fact that black (or navy blue?) and grey are predominant. Yeah, like anyone would look at THAT t-shirt and go “kinda Corinthians-inspired, no?”.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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