Posts Tagged ‘hernán barcos’

In a parallel universe, Palmeiras only managed a draw against Botafogo before losing 1-0 to Grêmio, finishing round 28 in the penultimate position.

However, in this universe, Henrique stretched out to reach that genius cross from Valdivia, turned on the spot and slammed it into the net, declaring victory against the unhappy cariocas.

Barcos fulfilled the eternal fate of former Palmeiras players scoring against the Verdão, while trying to ignore that his premature exit was also written in the stars: he opened up the scorecard for the southerners, but after his sending off, Palmeiras could step up the pressure applied all first half to successful conclusion in the second, luckily turning the tables on Grêmio and pocketing another three points after braces from Mouche and right-back João Pedro.

Clashing against Grêmio, against Scolari, against Barcos, was special. Not only the result per se, not only the 30.000 cheering supporters on a Saturday night, not only the satisfaction of overcoming ghosts from the past. But primarily because Palmeiras were back. Palmeiras, the team. Palmeiras, ready to take on all competition in this Brasileirão as equals. Last Saturday, Palmeiras were as large as anybody. We haven’t seen that in a long time.

I’m not saying we’ve escaped relegation, neither that the squad is the seventh wonder, but I do say we saw glimpses of something new and promising. An internal force and confidence. Much owed, of course, to the splendid performances of Valdivia and Prass. It’s incredible how much these two add to the mix when on the pitch. Makes all the difference. Explains why Palmeiras currently rest in 12th position, not in the bottom four – albeit only four points currently separate the Verdão from the relegation zone.

The squad have now rested for two day and tomorrow starts preparing for Sunday’s game against Santos. Our opponent lost 3-0 to Criciúma on Sunday, and this coming Thursday face Botafogo in the quarter-finals of the Brazil Cup. I’m sticking my neck out, saying Palmeiras are the favourite. What about you?

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!


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Catching up on last week’s events is a more than joyful exercise, as Palmeiras’ engine is running smoothly on so many levels. It’s been many years without such apparent tranquillity in the squad, backstage, even [sic] in the press.

Palmeiras 2-1 Bragantino
Last Friday, Palmeiras bagged another three points after a convincing display against hard-hitting Bragantino. The opponent came determined to wreck Palmeiras’ creativity with all means available, but a more than inspired Valdivia – who, if he keeps his current form, soon will again deserve his nickname El Mago – found the holes: masterly serving Kardec who with plastic perfection bent it past the keeper; then himself taking a surprising shot with exceptional precision. With 2-0 on the scorecard, Palmeiras slowed down, allowing Bragantino to reduce and almost level: a common but unforgiving attitude that Kleina must deal with within the squad. Still, and with the last 20 minutes included, Palmeiras of last Friday performed much more convincingly than against Icasa the Tuesday before, even though the 4-0 score against Icasa might have you think differently.


Fernandinho extends his contract
It took a while, but Palmeiras finally announced the extension of the contract with left-winger turned midfielder Fernandinho. As compensation, Fernandinho’s club Oeste received 20-year-old Diego Souza: both players will remain at respective new club until the end of the year.

Fernandinho suffered a serious knee injury soon after arrival and has yet to prove his worth after almost nine months parked in the medical department. Coach Kleina has faith in his potential. Oeste wanted to negotiate him definitively, but Palmeiras’ lack of funds was a major obstacle. After rounds of negotiations the situation was solved with the Souza swap and a small salary raise for Fernandinho.

Patrik, the Sport
Midfielder Patrik had supporters on the brink of nervous breakdowns in 2012, Scolari insisting on using him time after time. He wasn’t able to convince Kleina and the athlete ended up leaving for South Korean club Gangwon, where he didn’t remain long. Just back at Palmeiras – enough to provoke a minor storm of protests on social media – within a week his new destination was settled: Sport of Recife. Another lending deal. Could have made that one a permanent.

Blue and I like it
All these players being sent off to gain experience at other clubs are not only reducing Palmeiras’ oversized squad, but also the number of monthly pay checks. The month of June was the first one since July 2012 that closed with a positive balance and, consequently, also the first one during Nobre’s mandate to do so: some US$ 250.000. With roughly US$ 10 million of accumulated deficit January-May, this is a small but important step in the right direction. And, mind you, without yet having signed a major sponsor.

Several measures have led to the financial turnaround, not only the swapping and lending of players: the extinction of Palmeiras B has been fundamental, so has the hibernation of all of Palmeiras’ professional Olympic sports genres that weren’t able to maintain themselves through sponsorships. Times are rough and rather drastic measures have been taken; justified when you’re US$ 2 million short month after month.

Lapidating the jewel…
Last week new aerial photos of the Allianz Parque were released: with 65% of the construction underway, almost all of the supporting structure is in place.

Yesterday, 4 August, the greatest Palmeiras keeper of them all turned 40. Congratulations, Saint Marcos!

Loves me, loves me not
The Barcos poll was rather inconclusive: 57% wouldn’t have him back, 43% would. Something tells me had the negotiations regarding his exit been better handled, numbers would be the opposite.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Upon returning to Porto Alegre, some of Grêmio’s players were verbally abused by supporters awaiting at the airport, ventilating their anger after Wednesday’s defeat to Corinthians. Barcos was one of the main targets: “Go back to Palmeiras, you Argentine piece of sh*t” echoed in the hall, among other things.

Now, the question is simple:

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The announced meeting between members of the Fanfulla political group and directors of Palmeiras took place last Friday as expected. Conrado Cacace of the always excellent Verdazzo participated in the meeting and has reported on a few new and important details regarding the Barcos negotiation. In short, the following is what you need to know in order to evaluate if the transfer makes sense or not:

Barcos was not happy at Palmeiras. His (legitimate) concerns about second division play and how that would influence his chances of being called up for the Argentine national squad were well known. However, Barcos is no Judas30 but a professional on and off the pitch, never having disrespected Palmeiras.

Barcos was without receiving salaries, including a retroactive raise, since October.

Already in 2012, Grêmio had shown interest in the striker. A second approach caught his interest as Palmeiras’ lawyers issued a warning to the club’s directors: Barcos, due to having several months of outstanding salaries, could probably revoke his contract and sign with any other club, leaving Palmeiras empty handed.

Faced with this scenario, Nobre and Brunoro chose to initiate negotiations with Grêmio. But they had to do it fast: the gauchos only wanted Barcos if they could use him in the Libertadores Cup, enlistment deadline only a few days away.

Palmeiras, holder of 70% of Barcos’ economic rights, told Grêmio they were willing to sell 55% for R$ 10,6 million (roughly US$ 5,3 million). Grêmio couldn’t or wouldn’t cough up that kind of cash, but did agree on the overall amount, instead offering players on loan as part of the deal. Palmeiras, in need of a stronger squad, accepted the proposal. Thus, the following agreement was reached:

Grêmio would lend five players to Palmeiras in a transfer estimated at US$ 2,5 million: Vilson, Rondinelly, Leandro, Leo Gago and Marcelo Moreno would all come for one year. If any or several of these refused to transfer, Palmeiras could try another corresponding player from the Grêmio squad or, in case of another failure (player refusal or veto by Grêmio’s technical committee), receive a predetermined percentage of the economic rights of the player originally offered to the club as payment.

The remaining R$ 8,1 million of the transfer fee would be paid in the following way: R$ 4 million in cash to Palmeiras; R$ 1,3 million to LDU (Palmeiras’ debt); R$ 1 million to Barcos (Palmeiras’ debt); and 15% of the economic rights of Marcelo Moreno (these 15% estimated at R$ 1,8 million).

With the deal sealed between the clubs, Barcos quickly signed and left for Porto Alegre, while Palmeiras opened negotiations with the batch of Grêmio players. These negotiations happened under a fierce storm of protest, as the loss of Barcos in return for God-Knows-Who hit the news-stands. By many a supporter, Nobre and Brunoro were deemed incompetent beyond even former president Tirone’s magnitude. The duo responded by focusing on work (i.e. the negotiation of players) and was nowhere to be found, further stirring the frustration of supporters.
As of today, four players have arrived, while Moreno is still uncertain. In case he doesn’t transfer, Palmeiras will receive an additional 20% of the player’s economic rights on top of the already 15% included in the deal, totalling 35%.

One more important detail: in the case of any of the players on loan being sold during or immediately after their passage at Palmeiras, the club have the right to 15% of that player’s economic rights.

Good deal?

Perhaps Barcos wouldn’t have gone down the judicial road in any case.

Perhaps Palmeiras could have asked for and gotten more money for him.

Perhaps Palmeiras could have raised cash and paid all the debts, forcing Barcos to stay and play for the club.

Perhaps Nobre’s and Brunoro’s fast action saved Palmeiras from the ultimate humiliation: Barcos leaving for free.

With the cards on the table, I’m personally convinced that Nobre and Brunoro acted with Palmeiras best in mind and made the right choices. A team cannot depend on a single player, however motivated he may be. And when not that motivated…

The only thing to lament was the lack of information to press and supporters, unnecessarily creating tension – even hostility – toward a new management that need all the support it can get.

We see this again and again, especially at Palmeiras: information and transparency – or rather the lack of – is root to many of the problems. Will we ever learn?

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Directors come and go, while other things prevail, one of the most enduring features at Palmeiras being the lack of transparency and information. And where there is none, people will guess. Or make things up. Not good.

Last Friday’s announcement of Barcos’ transfer to Grêmio is obviously on everybody’s lips, and how could it not be, considering that fundamental questions remain unanswered:

Was Palmeiras really that pressed to sell? Is it true that Barcos considered doing just like Fernando Prass did at Vasco – be liberated from his contract due to the club owing him three months worth of salaries – and simply transfer for free? Was his dissatisfaction with the outlook of playing in the second division starting to contaminate the rest of the squad? The answer to all of the above is, quite likely, yes.

Even if disregarding the above, there are valid arguments for selling Barcos. Palmeiras are short on cash, short on players and cannot depend on one man alone. Barcos had a brilliant year in 2012 but that wasn’t nearly enough to save Palmeiras from relegation. And what if he got injured? The risk (yes, the risk) of keeping him on the expense of generally strengthening the squad must not be overlooked.

That being said, did Palmeiras get a fair price? No, we didn’t, as normally happens when you’re negotiating with the rope around your neck. Our top scorer and kiddie idol – a serious, hard working, peaking professional – apparently went for US$ 5 million. Take 30 per cent off and you get what Palmeiras paid for Luan back in 2011. Just food for thought.

Brunoro - the honeymoon didn't last long.

Brunoro – the honeymoon didn’t last long.

Why “apparently” US$ 5 million? Because the info has not been confirmed by Palmeiras’ directors, who instead chose to sell in the deal with us supporters as a five-for-one swap: Palmeiras were letting Barcos go in exchange for no less than five players from Grêmio: centre-back Vilson, defensive midfielder Léo Gago, offensive midfielder Rondinelly, strikers Marcelo Moreno and Leandro, in addition to some US$ 3.5 million cash. Grêmio and Palmeiras thought this was a great deal. Too bad no-one had asked the actual players involved. Imagine the resentment from 25-year-old quality player Marcelo Moreno – and that of his father/agent – when learning he would be part of a package of five. The reaction – and especially the disrespectful tirade from the father – is by many a palmeirense considered a deal breaker in itself.

From Grêmio, Vilson, Léo Gago and Leandro have arrived (and signed contracts until December). Rondinelly might be on his way also. In regard to Moreno, Brunoro might have settled for a compensational cash sum, although rumours of a triangulation with Cruzeiro surged earlier this week, where Moreno would join the club from Belo Horizonte and Cruzeiro, in turn, pass on two player to Palmeiras (allegedly Borges and Victorino). Hey, Brunoro might even surprise us all and in the end bring Moreno over. It’s wait and see. It’s also wait and see in regard to what Palmeiras de facto can do with these players when their contracts expire. Barcos has left for good, while some of the Grêmio players involved in the swap seem only be coming on loan. Explanations, please!

The picture might clear up tomorrow as the political group Fanfulla – on a fact-seeking mission – has managed to schedule a meeting with the directors.

— ooo —

In the midst of all turmoil, Palmeiras tonight debut in the Libertadores Cup. We are likely to see some new faces against visiting Sporting Cristal from Peru, but not the newly arrived Grêmio players: all of them, except for Vilson, have previously been entered in the competition for Grêmio and thus cannot play for Palmeiras in the group stage. Still, expect Vilson, Marcelo Oliveira and from Corinthians recently signed right-backer Welder pulling on the green jersey for the first time.

Expect a difficult game. We need the result. If Palmeiras lose (or only draws) and then loses Sunday’s derby to Corinthians, Kleina better start looking for another position to fill.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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barcos se despede.
Blink and you’ve missed it. That’s how fast things happen at Palmeiras as of late.

In the morning, the unpleasant news that excellent press officer Fábio Finelli had been sacked.

The order didn’t come from newly hired head of Communications Fernando Mello, but rather higher up in the hierarchy. The reason for his firing is 100% political, although precisely how is unclear. One would however rather safely assume that president Nobre felt pressured to make his pawn sacrifice: it’s not pretty, but one can only hope that we in a not so distant future can look in that rear view mirror and see it was worth it. In the meantime, Finelli is taking up a position at Mello’s agency “Press F.C.”, recently awarded the contract to handle Palmeiras’ communication.  

Our most sincere Thank You to Finelli and the quality work at Palmeiras during the last seven years.

The day, however, had only started.

Before lunch, the second surprise – and if the first one was a grenade, this was a small, nuclear charge: Barcos leaving Palmeiras for Grêmio.

First, we need to look at the bigger picture. President Tirone led Palmeiras into such a financial mess that the club’s Financial Committee, with only months remaining of his presidency – took the unprecedented decision to strip him of his mandate to sign contracts and players. Newly elected president Nobre inherited this situation, which includes some unpaid player wages (for example, Palmeiras owe Barcos roughly US$ 750.000 linked to merchandise rights) and the last instalment to LDU (coincidently, also US$ 750.000) for the transfer of Barcos to Palmeiras.

Palmeiras have a limited squad: an additional 10-12 players are needed to fill positions, according to coach Kleina’s wish list. The season is long and the competitions many: São Paulo Championship, Brazilian Championship (second division, with the absolute obligation to ascend), Brazil Cup, Libertadores Cup, South America Cup.

What to say about Barcos? The charismatic top scorer showed serious commitment from day one and quickly conquered the palmeirenses, especially the kids who couldn’t get enough of “The Pirate”. His success in our jersey also caught the attention of Argentine national coach Sabella, who called him up for duty in last September’s 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay  and Peru.

Is it possible to hold on to a player like this when relegated to the second division? A player practically told by the national coach that he won’t stand much of a chance to be called up again unless he transfers?

Barcos is no São Marcos. He might like Palmeiras a lot, he might have bonded with the supporters. But his heart is not Palmeiras. It couldn’t be.

The logical would have been for him to leave right after relegation. But he didn’t, in part due to his feelings for the club, in part due to a hefty pay raise. Still, Barcos never made his concerns a secret and also stated that if an irresistible offer materialized, he could be leaving.

This is the scenario when Grêmio make their move. The first-division club are also in the Libertadores Cup. Based in Porto Alegre, Buenos Aires is only an hour and a bit away by commercial flight. Grêmio offer Barcos a slight raise: from US$ 250.000 to perhaps US$ 300.000 monthly.

What’s in it for Palmeiras? Well, Grêmio offer US$ 2 million in cash in addition to assuming Palmeiras’ debts with Barcos and LDU (US$ 1.5 million), bringing the total up to US$ 3.5 million. Grêmio also offer five players to be include in the deal: centre-back Vilson, defensive midfielder Léo Gago, offensive midfielder Rondinelly, strikers Marcelo Moreno and Leandro. These players would all transfer permanently to Palmeiras except for young Leandro, considered a future star and only coming on loan until the end of the year.

In my point of view, accepting the offer makes sense. Without cash and with a seriously limited squad, swapping five for one is a good deal, especially as Barcos was open for the opportunity. But the news divided palmeirenses, with criticism coming down hard not only on Barcos, but also regarding the quality of the five involved in the swap, the fact that Palmeiras were getting rid of their only idol, that Barcos was going too cheap, etcetera.

If the situation was tense already, imagine the outcry when Brunoro holds a press conference, flanked by Barcos himself, announcing the closure of the deal but not confirming exactly which players from Grêmio would de facto be involved. “Grêmio have agreed, but we need to negotiate with the players also, who are free to decline”, was Brunoro’s words. One of the players – and none other than the most important of the five: Moreno – has apparently already announced his intention to stay at Grêmio.

President Nobre, I dearly hope you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, your impeachment might come faster than you can say “cock-up”.

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What a week. Palmeiras yesterday topped the club’s worst ever campaign in a Brazilian championship with a 3-1 defeat to Santos: that’s a total of 22 defeats out of 38. Not a single victory in any of the six classicos.

Well ahead of yesterday’s game it was announced that the directorship would be promoting drastic change to the squad. We’ve been through this a thousand times: it’s not the squad that has been Palmeiras’ main problem this year (or any of the last ten years, or the last decades for that matter), but there’s even so a rather broad understanding, almost consensus, among supporters in regard to which players must be asked to clean out their lockers. Indications had journalists speculating in as much as 20-something dismissals…

The list was presented on Thursday night and didn’t even remotely look like the much anticipated spring cleaning. Of the more or less regularly utilised players, out are left-winger Leandro, midfielders João Vítor and Daniel Carvalho, and forwards Betinho and Obina. In addition, a few players rarely seen will say their goodbyes: keepers Pegorari and Carlos, wingers Capixaba, Luís Felipe and Gerley, centre-backs Leandro Amaro and Wellington, midfielders Tinga and Patrik, and forwards Daniel Lovinho and Tadeu. Absolutely no surprises so far.

Now, what about centre-backs Román and Thiago Heleno, who like right-winger Artur are having contracts expiring as of 31 December? No definition. And highly questioned (even in some cases despised) players like Márcio Araújo, Luan, Vinicius, Maikon Leite, Mazinho and cherry-on-the-cake Valdivia? Nothing. Alarming.

FrizzoConfiaAt the beginning of the week we announced that an important step toward a smoother transition between presidents had been taken. Turns out the “one step forward, two steps back” have never been truer, as vice-president a.k.a. director of football Roberto Frizzo first postponed the second meeting then cancelled it altogether, refusing to meet with the gathered three candidates, football manager César Sampaio and coach Kleina. The five, while waiting for president Tirone to arrive, even contemplated conducting the scheduled meeting elsewhere but where explicitly prohibited by Frizzo to do so. After a couple of hours’ waiting, the whole thing was called off. “Directorship, the cancer of Palmeiras”.

The one piece of good news that reaching us this week came straight from the source and addressed the Palmeiras supporter: Barcos put up a home-made video making it clear that he would stay and play for the club unless someone made an irrecusable offer (i.e. paying the full US$ 25 million fine) for his transfer. Practice your “portunhol” watching his short declaration below. The man surely doesn’t lack a spine. Nor courage. I desperately hope he won’t look back on 2013 and think “what I lacked was brains”.

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