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Coach Cuca and the squad Monday afternoon left for Atibaia, some 70km outside of São Paulo, where the men will remain until Friday afternoon. Cuca explained the transition: “There, it’ll be just me and the players. Morning, afternoon and night, nothing but interaction, knowing each other better. There we’ll work two daily session and is where my ideas will be presented, worked on, and understood by the players”.
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Judging by the picture, the squad is not yet using the new training uniform launched a few weeks back. Perhaps they are waiting for the start of the Brasileirão.
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The coming and going of players continues, as Cuca tweaks the little universe to his liking. Victor Luis and Régis are not with the squad in Atibaia, having been negotiated with Botafogo and Bahia respectively.

Just a month ago, 19-year-old Róger Guedes signed with Palmeiras and is already a frequent starting eleven player under Cuca. Today, in a test match against Guarani, not only Guedes but also Tchê Tchê – with the club as of this week – went into the starting eleven. Tchê Tchê (yes, seems like his nickname stays) was elected the revelation of this year’s São Paulo championship, his former team Audax losing the final to Santos by the difference of a goal. Róger Guedes was elected the revelation of this year’s edition of the Santa Catarina championship, playing for Criciúma. The Palmeiras squad already contains last year’s Brazilian championship revelation Gabriel Jesus, and the previous year’s as well in Erik. No doubt, Palmeiras are looking at today with an eye on the future.

The test game ended 6-2 with braces by Jean, Matheus Sales, Barrios (2), Rafa Marques and Cristaldo. Three assists by Gabriel Jesus.   

Speaking of Jesus, the forward is closely coaching his friend Vitinho, an 18-year-old midfielder recently given the opportunity to integrate the main squad. The promising player is fast and light, with a technique that is easily noticed, something which rendered him a Bellinzona “player of the tournament” award in the Swiss competition won by Palmeiras’ U20 squad last March. This kid will be interesting to follow in the years to come.

Today, Colombian Yerry Mina signed a five-year contract with Palmeiras. The player also visited the Allianz Parque for the first time, slowly walking barefoot on the grass, apparently taking it all in. Mina is the sixth Colombian to wear our jersey and the first fullback: before him, there has been Rincón (1994, 1996-1997), Lozano (1995), Asprilla (1999-2000), Muñoz (2001-2004, 2006-2007) and Pablo Armero (2009-2010). The 21-year-old joins the squad as soon as the international transfer window opens in mid-June.

A quick mention before we sign off: the TV Palmeiras youtube channel this week reached the impressive number of 400.000 followers, reinforcing its position as Latin America’s biggest. Congratulations to everyone involved! If you haven’t yet subscribed, here’s the link.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra! 

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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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Palmeiras, together with financial institute Crefisa and the Faculdade das Américas (FAM) today announced they are renewing their partnership for one more year. This was expected. After all, the owner of Crefisa and FAM, José Roberto Lamacchia, and his wife/director/president Leila Pereira have never hidden they are palmeirenses, dreaming of seeing Palmeiras a champion with their brand logos on the uniform. That dream came true a little more than a month ago, with the 2015 Brazil Cup title.

While the renewal was expected, the numbers were not. Palmeiras are landing nothing short of the largest uniform sponsorship in the history of Brazilian football. Crefisa and FAM are, together, scooping up every available space on the garments, pushing out Prevent Senior and TIM in the process: R$ 58 million for the jersey and R$ 8 million for shorts and socks, totalling R$ 66 million (US$ 16 million).
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Absolutely brilliant, of course. But looking at the pictures, I keep wondering if it hadn’t been wiser of Crefisa/FAM to reign supreme not by covering up every single square centimetre of fabric they are entitled to, but rather on the contrary, by keeping the jersey uniquely clean.

The current layout guarantees the logos are exposed at whatever angle, close cropped or far. Maximisation, in the most rudimentary understanding of the concept. But sometimes, or rather often, less is more. And as humans, we are prone to take in what pleases the eye. This is no less true for sports jerseys, where supporters will treasure brand logos that become one with the jersey and that harmonises in style, colour and positioning. Logos that becomes part of the identity of the team for a certain era, of certain trophies and glories.

Certainly studies have been made, expensive consulting firms have given advice. Nevertheless, my gut feeling – and I know I’m not the only one – is for Crefisa/FAM to reconsider their “occupy every space” approach for a clean and stylish look. A look that will please the eye of the beholder. Evoke positive feelings among the millions of Palmeiras supporters who acknowledgedly go out and buy heaps of jerseys. Now THAT is visibility, merchandising, money well spent.

Speaking of money: supporters of rival clubs are everywhere on social media, questioning Palmeiras’ signings and where “all that money” is coming from. The math is simple: R$ 66 million for the uniform, R$ 19 million from Adidas, R$ 45 million from the Avanti supporter programme (2015 figures), R$ 50 million from ticketing (idem), R$ 137 million in TV rights. That’s R$ 317 million (USD 77 million) right there.

Palmeiras have been doing the right thing – financially speaking – ever since Paulo Nobre assumed control in 2013. After years of hardship, Palmeiras are today one fat, happy pig. Albeit a bit patched.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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As predicted, Sunday’s away game against Atlético Mineiro proved a hard nut. Palmeiras got the early goal, Andrei Girotto bagging his first for Palmeiras putting his forehead to a perfectly timed cross by Lucas. As we’ve seen before, the goal stopped Palmeiras dead in the tracks and Atlético dominated the rest of the first half completely, going into halftime with a 2-1 lead after two goals by Lucas Pratto.

Marcelo Oliveira promoted change already at halftime and again with ten minutes on the clock: Egídio (again terrible) gave way to Robinho, who did a good job in the middle while Zé Roberto took over the left flank. In another offensive move, Gabriel Jesus replaced Girotto. Palmeiras gradually increased ball possession and pressure, which culminated as Barrios replaced Alecssandro. Unfortunately, and in spite of many chances, Palmeiras were unable to equalise.
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Palmeiras are parked fifth in the tables, now twelve points behind Corinthians and eight behind Atlético. Grêmio are six points ahead, Fluminense two. Some palmeirenses are chucking in the towel, forgetting the title and refocusing on the Libertadores spot (awarded to top four teams). Too early, in my opinion: Palmeiras have every possibility to win upcoming games against Joinville and Goiás, before receiving Corinthians at the Allianz Parque. Nine points won, and anything can happen.

Lucas Barrios seems to understand this. Yesterday, we learnt that he asked Paraguay national coach Ramón Díaz not to call him up for a friendly against Chile in two weeks’ time. Barrios explained he preferred fine-tuning at Palmeiras and be available for the derby, and his request was duly granted by Mr. Díaz. Now that’s how you make an impact.

Leandro Pereira seems to be feeling all this and possibly preparing a move. The current top scorer has not had many opportunities with Marcelo Oliveira as of late and a deal seems close with Belgian club Brugge. Palmeiras hold 50% of the 23-year-old, the parcel purchased for R$ 5 million. If the deal goes through, Palmeiras might make a small profit, something like R$ 1 million. The transfer window closes on 31 August.

Thiago-Santos-Palmeiras-Foto-Divulgacao_LANIMA20150825_0051_52Defensive midfielder Thiago Santos is the 25th athlete to join Palmeiras this season. The idea is for Thiago to suppress the impact of Gabriel’s absence (out for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury). Sporting good numbers playing for América Mineiro in the second division, Thiago is welcomed by former club companions Vitor Hugo and Andrei Girotto. Also worth mentioning: the 25-year-old was brought in with the help of main sponsor Crefisa, who paid the fine to yank him from América and will also pay his salaries. In other words, same procedure as with Barrios. Thiago’s contract ends December 2018.

Speaking of injuries: Cleiton Xavier has come down with a muscular problem and is expected back in playing condition no earlier than late September. Arouca is recovering, but will not face Cruzeiro tomorrow, hopefully being available against Joinville on Sunday.

Palmeiras have released pictures of the new third jersey for 2015: a silvery/gray piece with something resembling a watermark on the chest, displaying an image of the 1915 Savoia Trophy – the first trophy won by Palmeiras/Palestra Italia, beating Sport Club Savoia 2-0 in the team’s first game ever.
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The official launch of the jersey is scheduled for this upcoming Thursday, the day after…

PALMEIRAS 101th BIRTHDAY! Yes, tomorrow Wednesday 26 August marks the first year of Palmeiras’ second centenary!

And what a birthday, with a decisive away game against Cruzeiro for a spot in the quarterfinals in the Brazil Cup. A draw and Palmeiras are through to the next phase.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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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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The squad for the 2014 edition of the Brasileirão is in formation. Starting with the removal, at least for now temporarily, of players that have not lived up to expectations during the São Paulo Cup.

Striker Vinícius is packing his bags, heading for Vitória/BA, on loan until the end of the year. Youngest ever to debut in the Palmeiras jersey, he has only scored eight goals in the 100 and something games played for the Verdão. He won’t be missed.

There’s also a bunch of players returning to Palmeiras from other State of São Paulo teams: keeper Deola (relegated with Atlético Sorocaba), centre-back Marcos Vinicius and midfielder Ramos (both at Rio Claro), midfielder Bruno Dybal and striker Emerson (relegated with Oeste), midfielder Diego Souza (Grêmio Barueri), midfielder Edilson (Penapolense) and striker Tutinha (relegated with Paulista). All these player are training in separate and should be again passed on to other clubs, in the hope they develop and one day are considered ready to join the ranks (re-join, in some cases).

Deola might be heading for Criciúma. I say Palmeiras ought to find opportunities also for Bruno, giving 23-year-old Fábio a shot at fame and fortune as second keeper after Fernando Prass.

Alan Kardec is very, very close to signing a new contract with Palmeiras, an agreement having already been reached with Benfica. Kardec is fine with the productivity model adopted by the Nobre administration and happy at the Club.

Another player seemingly ready to accept the productivity model is forward Patrick Vieira. His agent ruled it out completely just a couple of weeks ago, but the tide has apparently changed. Good.

Coach Kleina is more closely observing the youth academy, looking for signals that someone might be ready for greater responsibilities. Players at other clubs are also being observed – the list includes a couple at Ituano, the team playing Santos for a draw in order to bag the Paulistão title on Sunday.

telao_Wagner_pesinatoNot only the squad, but also the Allianz Parque is shaping up. Yesterday, one of two larger structures were being prepared for lifting: these will support the largest TV screens currently existing in Brazil, each measuring some 103 square meters and costing approximately US$ 3 million. The high definition screens will be placed at the far ends of the Arena, behind the goals. Picture to your right, courtesy of Wagner Pesinato.

WTorre has also recently released pictures of the proposed colour scheme for the seats at the Arena, sporting an abstract pattern, perhaps resembling camouflage. White and two shades of green will be used.
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Speaking of design: pictures of the third jersey for the centenary are out. The piece seeks inspiration from the very earliest models worn by the players of Palestra Italia. Gorgeous.
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To round things off, a video of Mr John Farrell, head of YouTube’s Latin America division, paying a visit to Palmeiras. In the interview, Farrell expresses how impressed everyone is at the growth of TV Palmeiras, within days bound to reach 250.000 followers on YouTube. Dedicated supporters, good publicity work and exclusive content is the key to TV Palmeiras’ success, in Farrell’s view. I’d say especially the last ingredient has been important in this specific case: Palmeiras supporters are very thirsty for backstage news. The insights into training and preparation routines of our players before and after games have approached players and supporters, showing supporters the human filling out the jersey out there on the pitch: a human of flesh and blood with aspirations, desires, fears and faith.
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If TV Palmeiras and media coverage interest you, you’ll certainly enjoy the upcoming article here at Anything Palmeiras: an extensive, all-exclusive interview with Mr Stefano Bozzi, Head of Programmes at Manchester United TV. MUTV was launched in 1998 and has today an estimated global audience of 6 million in 85 countries. Bozzi will tell us a little about concept, strategy, and how it is to work for a club with one of the largest – if not the largest – supporter base on the planet. Stay tuned!

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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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