Posts Tagged ‘josé carlos brunoro’

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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There was an almost audible, collective sigh of relief when pending documents from Metalist finally arrived yesterday afternoon, permitting 25-year-old Argentine striker Jonatan Cristaldo to sign a four-year contract with Palmeiras only hours before closing of the International transfer window.

Cristaldo is expected to go straight into Palmeiras’ starting eleven, possibly already on Sunday against São Paulo FC. He’s the fourth Argentine arriving under Gareca; Tobio, Mouche and Allione being the other three. Tobio is a starting man in Gareca’s eleven, so is Allione.

Gareca’s list is short but rather sweet if compared to the complete list of players brought in during the 19 months of the current administration: a whopping 35 players – almost two per month. That’s 10 forwards, 8 offensive midfielders, 7 defensive midfielders, 7 centre-backs and 3 left/right backs. Out of the 35, no less than 15 – or 43% – have already left the squad.

There is something to be said about the “professionalism” in signing so many players. It costs. And especially if they aren’t starting eleven material. If we exclude the last four brought in under the influence of Gareca, who is a regular out of the 35? Lúcio and Marcelo Oliveira. With plenty of goodwill, we could possibly add Leandro and Henrique.

The signings reveal a lack of confidence and, more seriously, a lack of planning. Instead of careful and methodical analysis of what kind of quality player is needed for which position, Nobre/Brunoro go out and buy 3-4 generic options in the hope that one or two of them will prove a pleasant surprise. When none of them develops in the desired direction, improvisations take place, as with Marcelo Oliveira – frequently alternating between centre-back and defensive midfield.

It’s not a question of finances. More modest teams have had their squads defined for weeks, even months, and are showing considerable progress in harmonisation and tactical obedience. At Palmeiras, the coming and going of players, combined with the improvisations, has led to vulnerability – so much that Palmeiras have only mustered to bring home two out of the last 24 points in the Brasileirão. Palmeiras are still trying to form a coherent squad, targeting the second half of the Brazilian championship and the remainder of the Brazil Cup. This could prove too late.

Below, signings during Nobre’s first 19 months as president, with the * indicating a player who has already left the club.

Right defenders (1)
Weldinho (Corinthians)

Centre defenders (7)
Vílson* (Grêmio)

Tiago Alves* (Mogi Mirim)
Thiago Martins (Mogi Mirim)
Lúcio (São Paulo)
Tobio (Vélez)
André Luís* (Nancy)
Victorino (Cruzeiro)

Left defenders (2)
William Matheus* (Goiás)

Paulo Henrique* (Santos)

Defensive midfielders (7)
Marcelo Oliveira (Cruzeiro)

Charles* (Cruzeiro)
Léo Gago* (Grêmio)
Eguren (Libertad)
França* (Hannover)
Josimar (Internacional)
Bruninho (Portuguesa)

Offensive midfielders (8)
Ronny* (Figueirense)

Rondinelly* (Grêmio)
Mendieta (Libertad)
Felipe Menezes (Benfica)
Marquinhos Gabriel* (Bahia)
Bruno César (Al Ahli)
Bernardo (Vasco)
Allione (Vélez)

Forwards (10)
Leandro (Grêmio)

Kléber* (Porto)
Serginho* (Oeste)
Ananias* (Cruzeiro)
Alan Kardec* (Benfica)
Rodolfo (Rio Claro)
Diogo (Portuguesa)
Henrique (Portuguesa)
Mouche (Kayserispor)
Jonatan Cristaldo (Metalist)

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Editorial – the Alan Kardec screw-up

Next to Valdivia and Prass, Alan Kardec is considered the spinal core of the Palmeiras squad. Or rather, was: Kardec is expected to sign with São Paulo FC later this week for a whopping US$155.000 a month. Today, Palmeiras president Paulo Nobre held a press conference, confirming that our archenemy had swept the bride from the altar.

How come one of the most popular and important players in the squad, apparently devoted to Palmeiras and with a clearly expressed desire to renew his contract, jumped the fence? The answer is spelled Paulo Nobre.

No secret Nobre is all about sound, financial austerity: he inherited Palmeiras with already 75% of the 2013 revenues compromised and has made it a priority during his two-year mandate to remedy the Club’s more than precarious financial and administrative condition. All new player contracts and renovations during the Nobre administration have been carefully conducted with the aim of not overshooting budget. No different with Kardec.

The information I have is that Palmeiras were initially offering Kardec some US$75.000 a month in addition to extra revenues based on productivity and achieved goals. This is certainly lower than Kardec, his dad and a second agent involved in the negotiations were expecting. During several weeks, the parts were slowly moving closer, but the negotiations were indeed dragging out, just as they did with those involving Kleina and Leandro.

About a month ago, an agreement was finally reached between Kardec, the agents and Palmeiras’ director of football José Carlos Brunoro: a five-year contract at US$98.000 a month plus the variable revenues. The agreement was brought before Nobre for ratification, but Nobre said no. He wanted to shave off another US$9.000 a month, which would amount to a little more than half a million dollars for the whole extension of the contract. That is quite a lot of money, at least for you and me. However, it’s peanuts considering the larger picture, and peanuts considering Palmeiras’ payroll.

Nobre’s veto turned a done deal into an open affair, infuriating Kardec senior: the players’ father went to the press complaining about the difficult negotiation and said he would now consider other options. That was enough for SPFC to move in on Kardec senior and the agent, offering them double signing bonuses in addition to raising the salary offer to Kardec the player from US$98.000 to US$155.000. Kardec senior didn’t think twice and gave the director his word: my son is signing with SPFC.

As the tables turned, Paulo Nobre must have started sweating bullets. He faced two options: a) cover SPFC’s offer, completely overshooting his budget and destabilising the carefully crafted and implemented scheme with salary based on productivity, or b) let Kardec go, lose face, severely scratch Palmeiras’ image, weaken the squad and infuriate supporters.

Is Kardec worth US$155.000 a month? Most sports journalists would flat out state that he is not. But at this point, the decision was no longer a technical one, but also very much emotional. I believe Paulo Nobre was prepared to go out of his way to reel Kardec back in. Not that if would make any difference: when finally able to speak to the player – who had been sheltered for days by his father and agent – Kardec junior told Nobre that his father had reached a verbal agreement with São Paulo FC and the only way he now could sign with Palmeiras would be if he fired his own father. Curtains down.

nobreAt today’s press conference, Nobre highlighted SPFC’s “unethical behaviour”. Our president needs a reality check. Not only is he a fool if he didn’t see it coming, as he brought it upon himself. It’s difficult to understand how Nobre could veto a reached agreement involving one of the most important players in the squad because of a US$9.000 monthly difference, not foreseeing the ultimate consequences of his, yes, gamble.

Making things worse, it’s not only about Kardec. Palmeiras is a house of cards. The squad was different against Fluminense last Saturday – nervous, introvert, lost – and Palmeiras were beaten fair and square by the one goal at the Pacaembu. Some 12.000 supporters were present: very low numbers considering a home debut return to the first division. Criticism against the Nobre administration on social media has been massive these last few days. There are supporters cancelling their Avanti memberships (which is simply beyond me). Opposition candidates are breathing fresh air. The whole affair could eventually tip the scale in disfavour of Nobre’s re-election (if he opts for running, that is).

In my mind, I believe Palmeiras would (still) be worse off without Nobre in the drivers’ seat. But that all comes down to an ability to not only recognise one’s mistakes but also learn from them. With Nobre’s press conference fresh in my mind, I wonder: is he recognising his mistake? Will he learn from it? Will time tell?

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masksPasse lá em casa, “drop by my place”, a Brazilian acquaintance will tell you. “Come over for some coffee”. Without ever giving you his address. When not followed by action, words become meaningless. Empty. A theatre. Sometimes innocent, but often anything but innocent.

A politician in Brasilia accused of fraud will step up to the microphone before his peers in Congress and for 45 minutes claim his innocence. Not presenting any evidence thereof, just claiming it. Half of his peers will nod convincingly and declare that the case is to be considered closed. The same people who hide behind the secret voting procedure to let’s another member of parliament, sentenced to 13 years in prison, to keep his mandate.

Brazilian doctors take an oath to always respect and protect life, but are extremely reluctant to serve under harsh conditions, leaving a large part of the population uncovered. Foreign doctors – eager to work, eager to fill nine out of ten positions previously and recently again refused by Brazilian doctors – are booed by their Brazilian colleagues upon arrival in the country.

A journalist claims high ethical standards, but only reacts (and what a reaction!) when Valdivia drags his feet off the court in order to get that third yellow booking and clean his sheet. Why no reaction when other players and teams were involved in identical situations? Could it be the journalist happens to support Palmeiras’ biggest rival?

And when you think you’ve seen it all, another respected journalist, who happens to be a Palmeiras supporter, defends his colleague. Corporatism worthy of congress, worthy of Brazilian doctors.

Valdivia goes to trial. In stark contrast to previous (and rare) occasions when a player has been tried for “tricking” the referee into a booking, the Tribunal of Sports sentences Valdivia to sit out two games.

Ethics. Principles. Transparency. Words put to use a plenty in Brazilian society. Meaningless words. Empty.

There’s this other word, “professionalism”, much used in the world of sports. “Professional management”. With six months in office, Palmeiras president Paulo Nobre better take a good look at his staff and make serious evaluations. Has performance been up to standards? Have key persons delivered? Is Brunoro the man for the job? After Barcos and Vilson, should palmeirenses really have to prepare themselves for a third, foggy transfer to unfold at any moment?

There needs to be coherent action to match. I’d hate to see “professionalism” at Palmeiras become one more empty word.

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The new Palmeiras jersey by Adidas looks gorgeous. Slick, classy, clean. And it will look even cleaner after this coming Saturday’s game against América/MG: that bulky, orange BMG logo on the sleeves will disappear as the contract with the bank ends 3 June.

Again, the jersey looks mighty gorgeous. But we all know that no sponsors also translates into considerably less revenues for the club, revenues Palmeiras can’t do without.

Car manufacturers, banks, electronics manufacturers, suppliers of medical equipment and health plans, food companies… These are the heavy hitters in Brazil when we’re talking football team sponsors. In other parts of the world, airline companies and telecom companies are very active, not to mention online sports betting and gambling companies. That last segment is not allowed to operate in Brazil, but nevertheless accounts for a considerable part of sponsorship in other countries (check out this article for a list of Premiere League teams with ties to either live or online betting/gambling companies).

So, what’s in the cards for Palmeiras? President Nobre has not given much away, neither has CEO of football José Carlos Brunoro. Now, nothing leaking to the press doesn’t mean nothing is being done. And Palmeiras have a few aces up their sleeve:

# Palmeiras now play in the second division (yes, that’s right: a major club in the second division easily gets more exposure than many clubs in the first division)
# the club’s 100th anniversary is around the corner
# the upcoming inauguration of the Allianz Parque/Palestra Arena will translate into massive exposure for club and sponsors.

I’m sticking my neck out, predicting Nobre within weeks will announce a sponsorship package never before seen in Brazil. Remember Palmeiras’ basketball team, without sponsors and on their last breath? Well, out of nothing Nobre announced a sponsorship deal worth three times the team’s budget in previous seasons.

There are many sceptics. I don’t blame them. I’m however a believer. Someone who loves the clean jersey as much as anybody, but assures you it will soon look rather different.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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It’s in our nature to nourish dreams. Nothing wrong with that, on the contrary. But when dreams are not fulfilled, we mustn’t react like we’ve been deprived of what’s rightfully ours.

Back in January, few actually believed Palmeiras would make it to the knockout phase in the Libertadores Cup. There were even question marks in regard to progressing in the Paulista. Suddenly, the squad reacted with a streak of victories and those dreams, oh those dreams…

But Palmeiras were eliminated from the São Paulo Cup, then from the Libertadores Cup. Obviously not on any palmeirense’s script, but… Surprising? Not really. Disappointing? Certainly. A reason for heavily criticising the Nobre management? Absolutely not.

What Nobre’s doing should be recognised: he’s following a plan. It’s a bit worrying actually having to point this out, but in the heat of the moment far too many supporters seem to have forgotten what’s been repeatedly damaging not only Palmeiras but most football clubs in Brazil since forever:  a lacking mid to long-term strategy, paired with professionalism. Nobre was elected to bring exactly that. But now, many criticise him for keeping his promise, not giving in to quick fixes aimed at boosting Palmeiras’ chances in this year’s first two competitions.

Palmeiras’ financial situation is bad, very bad. “Spend yourself out of the crisis, buy top players, win trophies: revenues and bonuses will come!”. Right. That’s the mentality we’re supposed to fight, remember?

Nobre’s plan is based on careful diagnostics of Palmeiras’ situation and follows a logical progression. Some people with access say that implementation is running its course more or less as expected. The goal this year is one and one only: give the club best possible conditions to assemble a squad that will bring Palmeiras back to the first division in 2014. Nothing else matters.

Decades of amateurish management are not reverted in three month’s time. A whole mindset of do’s and don’ts are not easily reverted either. Some of the heaviest criticism of the actual administration seem to be coming from some of those most desperately desiring change. Is that desire fogging their reasoning? Are they really thinking that we’d see profound changes to Palmeiras on and off the pitch after three months of new management? I don’t know. But I do know that the current polarisation of opinions at large seems both unnecessary and counterproductive. In late 2012, when the direct vote was the hot subject, there was unity. Some of that, if not a lot, seems lost.

Freedom of speech is fundamental. Now, with speech comes responsibilities. We are all – in one way or the other, and certainly on different magnitudes – opinion-makers. Is my opinion well-founded? Am I working in benefit of Palmeiras by voicing it? What do I want to achieve? These questions and others should be reflected upon before pressing that “send” or “publish” button. As of late, I see a lot of gasoline being poured over perfectly manageable fires.

There are no guarantees Nobre and his directors will succeed. Time will tell. Remember, the primary goal is ascent. That’s the yardstick. Give the man some time, give the man some room to manoeuvre. And please, give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, he was elected on those premises.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Captain Nobre has one firm hand on the rudder while the other is holding the map with the coordinates. Reaching checkpoints, he ticks them off one by one and adjusts the course. Or what else could be said about:

– the formal charges pressed against the Mancha Verde supporter group in general and identified persons in particular, targeting the responsible for the brawl at the airport in Buenos Aires last week? Until the perpetrators have been expelled from the Mancha Verde and justice has run its course, Nobre – himself with a background in organized supporter groups – says there will be no dialogue. He has also announced the end of privileges to supporter groups, for example free tickets, and also announced the end of free ticket distribution to the members of Palmeiras’ conseglieri.

– today’s announcement of the extinction of the infamous Palmeiras B team, currently struggling in the backwaters of the A3 (!) division of the Paulista Championship, with very real possibilities of relegation? Palmeiras B was originally conceived as an incubator for talents but have for many years been nothing but a Mecca for shady investors/player managers – some of them with strong ties to the club or even counsellors themselves – making profits through commissions. Killing off the B team will partly solve that problem, in addition to saving Palmeiras a decent amount of cash in player salaries. Add to the mix Brunoro’s firm and confirmed policy of only taking on players that have at least 60% of their rights tied to the club (some players on the B team had unbelievable 1% tied to Palmeiras) and we can expect major changes to the dynamics of negotiations between Palmeiras and player agents.

Damiani– the appointment of a Mr Erasmo Damiani as new coordinator of the youth academy? Yet one of Nobre’s election promises, the restructuring aims at professionalising the youth academy with full-time staff dedicated to the spotting and development of future stars. A closer link between the youth academy and the first team is also envisioned. Damiani has previously developed good work at Atlético Paranaense and Figueirense.

With less than two months presiding Palmeiras, I hear voices complaining about the “lack of change”. Seems palmeirenses can’t even agree on the Earth being round…

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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