Posts Tagged ‘cruzeiro’

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.
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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Today’s draw defined the upcoming quarterfinals in the Brazil Cup. Palmeiras face Cruzeiro home and away, the winner taking on either Atlético Paranaense or Grêmio in the semis. On the other side of the grid, Atlético Mineiro face Botafogo, while Flamengo battle it out with Santos.

The dates are yet to be defined, as harmonization with the Libertadores Cup is needed (upcoming continental tournament draw on the 14th). In any case, the first leg will take place late June/early July and the second, roughly a month later.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Palmeiras and Cruzeiro yesterday night confirmed concluded negotiations in regard to four players: midfielders Robinho and Fabrício, right-back Fabiano and forward Willian. In short, the deal is as follows:

# Palmeiras return Fabrício to Cruzeiro.

# Cruzeiro keep Robinho for one more year, sending Willian over to Palmeiras in return. Both players can extend their loan agreements for two additional season if they and he clubs so wish. Palmeiras are not allowed to negotiate Robinho with another club without Cruzeiro’s consent.

# Palmeiras acquires 40% of Fabiano’s economic rights, keeping him at Palmeiras on a permanent basis.

willian_reducedThe only “new” player involved in the transactions is Willian, 30, nickname “bigode” (moustache). Originally from the small municipality of Três Fronteiras, state of São Paulo, the 170 cm tall forward had spells at Atlético Paranaense, Figueirense, Corinthians and Metalist Kharkiv (Ukraine) before making it big at Cruzeiro, regularly appearing during the club’s back-to-back Brasileirão titles of 2013 and 2014. His numbers for 2015 remained good, but dipped last year, with only 7 braces in 47 appearances. The weak 2016 cannot however be attributed to a lack of trying: summing shots on target in the League and the Brazil Cup, Willian divided second place with Palmeiras’ Gabriel Jesus – both with 39 – only behind Vitórias’ Marinho with 45.

Willian is an experienced, talented and hard-working player. Robinho had a good year at Cruzeiro and quickly got the supporter’s approval. The deal seems well-balanced and equally beneficial for both clubs.

Willian, welcome and the best of luck!

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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48 hours after having exited the Paulistão, and Palmeiras were already announcing modifications to the squad. And not minor modifications: regular starting eleven players Robinho and Lucas are off to Cruzeiro in a swap for Fabrício – comfortable as left-back or midfielder – and Fabiano, a right-back who doubles as a fullback. Both newcomers are younger and considerably taller than Robinho and Lucas.


Fabrício and Fabiano for Robinho and Lucas

Today, more exits were announced: Nathan is joining Taylor at Criciúma and Victor Luis is heading for Botafogo. None of these transfers are permanent, they are all loan agreements, same as the Cruzeiro swap. Different from Fellype Gabriel, who has been released from his contract. It’s speculated upcoming exits might involve Zé Roberto and Edu Dracena in addition to Leandro Almeida and Régis.

Cuca will keep on trimming, in line with his preference for a leaner squad with multi-purpose players, allowing for high rotation, a multitude of tactical option and an overall more vertical game-plan. The speed by which the aforementioned player transactions happened is the clearest indicator they have been discretely planned for some time, with Cuca in the driver’s seat. The message is clear: no one is untouchable as Cuca embarks on the mission to reformulate the squad according to his preference. And he’s not modest about it. “I know what I’m doing” and “We’re going to win the Brazilian championship this year” are two recent statements.

Good thing Cuca is confident, because the player swap with Cruzeiro is receiving quite some flak from supporters. Less so related to Lucas, who is a shadow of his 2015 self, but Robinho is a different story. Although the midfielder always suffered ups and downs at Palmeiras, he was heading the assists rank and had reached quite some status due to his spectacular braces against SPFC. Robinho was not uncontested, but in any case considered a key players in the squad. Cuca clearly thought differently, probably finding Robinho rather one-dimensional and without the necessary stamina and pace. “But Robinho was the closest to a playmaker we had and now we have none’, supporters protest. And they are right. Cleiton Xavier could be that playmaker (although he´s not a classical #10) but with his recent record of injuries, nothing can be taken for granted. Which has me thinking Palmeiras are preparing a high-profile signing.

In addition to that wishful-thinking-playmaker, is there space for newcomers in the squad? Cuca says he will promote fullback Augusto and midfielder Vitinho from the youth divisions. Argentinians Tobio and Mouche – currently on loan – will soon be available but Cuca´s intentions are unclear. Chances are better for midfielder Juninho, currently on loan to Paulistão finalists Audax. Stay tuned.

Signing off with a piece of bad news: Allione hurt his knee in the last Libertadores bout and today underwent minor surgery. Initial estimates are for some 4-8 weeks of recovery time.

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Marcelo Oliveira promoted change, opting for speed and agility against Cruzeiro’s slower defence. Gabriel Jesus and Barrios were found in the starting eleven, as was João Pedro, replacing Lucas on the right flank. Zé Roberto and Robinho in the middle, with Amaral positioned in front of centre-backs Vitor Hugo and Jackson. Egídio back on the left flank, Prass and Dudu completing the setup.

Within eight minutes, Barrios’ first goal in the Palmeiras jersey was a fact, beautifully assisted by Jesus. After that, it was all about the 18-year-old: he volleyed in 2-0 after a cross from Egídio, and then humiliated Cruzeiro keeper Fábio in a man-to-man duel, taking full advantage of the perfect pass received from Dudu to make it 3-0 with another ten minutes on the clock before halftime. Pure bliss.
With Cruzeiro suddenly needing five goals, the game died right there. Palmeiras administered the result in the second half, a bit sloppily allowing Cruzeiro – with only ten men on the pitch – to score not once but twice. Coach Oliveira was delirious with the first half and unhappy with the second; understandable, but also understandable that players hit the breaks to save up energy ahead of Sunday’s important game against Joinville.

The result propels Palmeiras into the quarterfinals of the Brazil Cup. Five other teams secured their spots yesterday: Fluminense, Santos, SPFC, Figueirense and Vasco. The last two spots are defined tonight, with Internacional (vs. Ituano) and Grêmio (vs. Coritiba) in the driver’s seat. Another positive aspect: Mouche came on in the second half, having been eight months absent from the pitch due to a serious knee injury. No mistaking his enthusiasm upon returning, but he will have to work hard for a place in the starting eleven: direct contenders are Dudu, Gabriel Jesus, Rafael Marques, Kelvin and Cristaldo.

Ticket sales are good ahead of Sunday’s game, with a packed Allianz Parque to be expected.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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After suffering three defeats in a row (Atlético Paranaense, Cruzeiro and Coritiba), Palmeiras last Sunday beat Flamengo 4-2 halfway through the Brazilian championship, then yesterday proceeded with a 2-1 victory against Cruzeiro in the first leg of the Copa do Brazil group of 16. Losing streak broken, Palmeiras back on track and all blue skies? Not quite.

Previously analyzing recent defeats, the most disturbing factor was the expressive drop in quality and overall mood. Although victories against Flamengo and Cruzeiro certainly have changed the mood to the better, technical issues largely remain the same: Palmeiras of today are characterised by inferior ball possession, bad passing, confused defensive positioning and inattentiveness. Against Flamengo, fluke and questionable refereeing limited initial damage, allowing Palmeiras to recover and dominate the last 25 minutes of the game. Yesterday, Palmeiras were saved by individual brilliance displayed in short bursts. In both games, Palmeiras initiated the second half in a zombie state, conceding goals before acting under pressure and turning things around. Highlights below (starting with yesterday’s game against Cruzeiro).


In a previous post, I wrote that Cleiton Xavier was stirring my temper like Wesley in 2014. Against Flamengo, the crucial (and lucky) equalizer was Xavier’s feat and against Cruzeiro, he opened up the scorecard following a terrific setup by Egídio and Barrios. Go figure.

Yesterday, Arouca left the pitch already in the first half, feeling the back of his thigh. If injury confirmed, both central pieces of Palmeiras’ midfield defence are out (Gabriel for the remainder of the season, mind you). In Brazil, the importance of having multiple quality options on the bench cannot be underestimated. Coach Oliveira will have to find a way.

Upcoming Sunday, Palmeiras travel to face Atlético Mineiro. The team from Belo Horizonte, until recently top dog, come from two defeats in the Brazileirão and yesterday drew with Figueirense in the Brazil Cup. Thus, both teams have been underperforming as of late, although more pressure will be on Atlético due to home advantage and more recent defeats. Let’s see if Palmeiras are able to explore this advantage.

Overall, the Brasileirão anno 2015 is an exciting and open affair: teams have been oscillating a plenty and will continue to do so, especially as fatigue and injuries increasingly become important factors. Again: a numerous squad of decent overall quality is fundamentally important and in this aspect, Palmeiras seem to be reasonably well prepared for the remainder of the season. Even currently trailing nine points behind Corinthians, the title should be our goal.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

ps. Did I mention that Monday was Valdivia’s last day as a Palmeiras player? Hallelujah.

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If there’s one thing we can conclude about Paulo Nobre’s style of management, it’s that he’s not keen on making adjustments on the go. He follows through, he persists, he keeps the direction… Even against better judgment. For example, he refused to accept that no master sponsor were to be found paying the amounts he had in mind, and thus, Palmeiras have been without for the last two years. Actually, Palmeiras’ marketing division has been heavily criticised almost from the start, but Nobre took ages to promote change, sacking Giannubilo and putting Brunoro there instead, removing the latter from the even more heavily criticised football department. No, Nobre doesn’t like correcting the course, possibly because correcting indicates he wasn’t 100% on the money from the start. Never mind that a constantly changing scenario might justify correction along the way: our president is pig-headed. And that pig-headedness almost drove us over the cliff in 2014.

With this in mind, the more important to kick off 2015 with the right foot and a.s.a.p. Yesterday’s dismissals of director of football José Carlos Brunoro, manager Omar Feitosa and coach Dorival Júnior is a welcome change of pace: many of us feared Nobre would keep these walking dead for a few more weeks, especially as Brunoro’s and Feitosa’s contracts expire by the end of the year.

Alexandre_MattosAlthough not officially announced, Alexandre Mattos is expected to take over after Brunoro. In late 2012, with Cruzeiro finishing the Brasileirão just above the relegation zone, Mattos was brought in to reformulate the squad – rather successfully, one can conclude: he dismissed 25 players, signed 23 and turned Cruzeiro into Brazilian champions in 2013 before repeating the feat this year. Today, at a press conference, Mattos announced he was leaving Cruzeiro in search for new challenges. Apparently, Palmeiras have offered him one, in addition to a significant pay raise. Mattos remains at Cruzeiro until 31 December, and then “he’ll start looking around a bit”, as he put it earlier today.

Cicero-SouzaAlso Omar Feitosa’s replacement is apparently settled: Cícero Souza, with previous works at Grêmio, Criciúma, Sport and Bahia. In the corridors, the word is Mattos indicated Souza as his right hand of choice and the man who will initiate the cleaning up before Mattos himself arrives in early January. Souza is likely be announced before the end of the week.

If these pieces all fall in place, Palmeiras are on the right track, with a top-to-bottom approach where Mattos and Souza, together with Nobre, will find a suitable coach. The quartet will then assembly a squad for 2015 and beyond. Nobre, hopefully, having as little a say as possible in the process.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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