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Posts Tagged ‘leandro’

It’s been a green week, with nothing but good news.

fellypeOffensive midfielder Fellype Gabriel finally pulled on the jersey, now legally a Palmeiras player and in condition to play for the club. Signed in May, the 29-year-old was awaiting legal matters to settle with his former club Al Sharjah, from the Emirates. Having trained with the Palmeiras squad for more than two months, Fellype hasn’t played a game in nearly a year due to a series of injuries sustained while at his former club; the most serious being one to his left knee. The carioca’s international career includes three seasons with Kashima Antlers of Japan. In Brazil, he has previously played for both Flamengo and Cruzeiro. Contract with Palmeiras running until end of 2017. Welcome and good luck, Fellype!

leandro_leavingAnother piece of excellent news: striker Leandro is leaving the squad, having been lent to Santos for the remainder of the season. Although considered very promising at first, the kid never took off at Palmeiras except for that short spell in the first months of 2013, which even rendered him an opportunity with the National squad. Leandro gets on palmeirenses’ nerves, his apparent lack of emotion and motivation possibly being the primary source of frustration. Come think of it, he rarely seemed happy at the club. Good for him he is moving on, good for Palmeiras. Hopefully, Santos can spark his return to good form, enabling Palmeiras to cash in if/when he transfers permanently to Santos or any other club.

Palmeiras have launched their official app. “What took them so long?” is a justified question. Nevertheless, now it’s here and it was worth the wait: the app is excellent. Available for iOS and Android (sorry, Portuguese only for now), it’s fast, sporting a great user interface and loaded with information. I like it a lot. And with more than 200.000 downloads in the first week – already occupying first position among Brazilian football club apps – it’s rather safe to assume you will like it too.

Speaking of breaking records: last Monday, Palmeiras made available the tickets for Sunday’s 11 o’clock game against Atlético Paranaense. By Wednesday, they were all gone. Every single one, and all sold through the internet, which is a first in Brazilian football. Congratulations, Palmeiras. And congratulations, palmeirenses, once again showing the why’s and how’s of Palmeiras being the team with the highest attendance average in this year’s Brazilian championship.

Two games from this the 16th round were played already on Wednesday, curiously enough both games involving the two contenders currently ahead of Palmeiras in the tables. Atlético Mineiro beat São Paulo 3-1, while Corinthians beat Vasco 3-0. Meaning Palmeiras must really bag the three points on Sunday.

When things go well, everybody wants a piece of the cake, and that applies even if you’re a Cake Boss. A couple of weeks back, against Santos, Buddy Valastro and family were at the Allianz Parque, for the first time enjoying a game of football in Brazil. No wonder the Italian-American celebrity chef chose a Palmeiras game, while in São Paulo to oversee the production of a Brazilian version of “Cake Boss”. Welcome to the family, Buddy!
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mad hatter2.
It’s called a “chapéu” in Brazil, a “hat”: the art of flicking the ball over an opponent’s head in a manner that normally looks – and certainly feels – rather humiliating for the latter. Mention the chapéu to any Palmeiras supporter and he will most likely recollect Alex de Souza’s little masterpiece against SPFC in 2002 (below).
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Now, a chapéu can also be performed off the pitch, in any circumstance in life, denominating a surprising turn of events with an unexpected victory or achievement. Sunday morning, Palmeiras were the protagonist behind one of the most impacting chapéus in recent times, officially announcing the signing of forward Dudu.

Dudu_dynamoEduardo Perira Rodrigues – known as Dudu – is a 23-year-old forward who started his career at Cruzeiro before, still a teenager, transferring to Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev. He has played two caps for Brazil, in addition to seven caps at U20 level. Last season he was back in Brazil, on loan to Grêmio, and everybody expected him to transfer to either SPFC or Corinthians this season, as both clubs radiated their optimism in closing the deal – Corinthians even semi-officially advertising him and including him on the list of players bound for the USA for a number of pre-season friendly games.

São Paulo FC or Corinthians, Corinthians of São Paulo FC? While the two battled it out, Palmeiras’ football manager Alexandro Mattos made a few calls and rapidly closed the deal. For 100% of Dudu’s federative and economic rights, Palmeiras will pay Dynamo approximately US$ 7 million in two instalments. The player’s salaries will match Valdivia’s: some US$ 130 per month.

Dudu is a quality player. Very fast, he likes to burst down the left flank, steal the ball, set up counter-attacks. Technically and tactically, for Palmeiras, is he worth the US$ 7 million and the high salary? Time will tell. One thing’s for sure: in terms of recovering the self esteem of palmeirenses, Dudu came cheap. The chapéu, actually the DOUBLE chapéu that Palmeiras pulled off, was a surgical operation bearing all the characteristics of Mattos: quick, convincing, efficient. Believe me when I say Palmeiras supporters were smiling from ear to ear all Sunday afternoon.

But Mattos is not resting on the trigger: today Palmeiras announced two more players, the tenth and eleventh, respectively:

Rafael_marquesRafael Marques: to be honest, there are only moderate expectations in regard to the arrival of the 31-year-old centre-forward, but as he comes on a loan until the end of the year, no harm done. It was actually coach Oswaldo who requested him, them both recently having worked together at Botafogo. Starting his career at Campinas, Rafael has been around quite a bit, playing predominantly at smaller clubs in the state of São Paulo, with a brief session in-between at Palmeiras in 2004. He later transferred to Turkey, where he played for two different clubs, before playing three seasons for Japanese Omiya Ardija. After that he had his 2012-2013 Botafogo spell, before another international transfer, this time to Chinese Henan Jianye. Enough?

robinhoRobinho: the so far most dragged out negotiations were finally concluded today as Coritiba accepted Palmeiras fourth offer, receiving the equivalent of US$ 900.000 for 50% of the 27-year-old playmaker’s economic rights. In addition to the money, Palmeiras lend Coritiba midfielder Mazinho (one year loan, salaries paid by Palmeiras) and two other players of Coritiba’s choice (out of a restricted list, of course, and these two also on loan with salaries paid by Palmeiras).

Robinho had a very good 2014 at Coritiba. He is well known for his precise passes, and comes with recommendations from master chapeleiro Alex de Souza himself (they played together at Coritiba): “here he played well, my friend. good player, helped out a lot here in the last years”, Alex messaged me on twitter. In the end, Robinho’s desire to play for Palmeiras was a determining factor in the negotiations.
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Fool if you think it’s over. Paulo Nobre has indicated there’s room for additional signing, and Mattos is on it. Already tomorrow, Palmeiras are expected to announce the signing of forward Jonathan Cafu, from Ponte Preta. Palmeiras are purchasing 25% of the 23-year-old’s economic rights, and rumours have it the contract has a duration of three years.

Negotiations are also well advanced with centre-back Victor Ramos, former Vitória and Vasco da Gama, currently at Mexican Monterrey.

aroucaIn addition, expectations are VERY high for a positive disclosure with 28-year-old defensive midfielder Arouca. Palmeiras and the player are in agreement and were conducting negotiations with Santos, but Santos started making tough demands, before suddenly announcing Arouca would either remain at Santos or transfer to a foreign club. Arouca finally had enough and last Friday filed a lawsuit against Santos, demanding a release from his contract due to a breach in regard to salaries: Santos owe Arouca and many other players in the squad three months of salaries – by law, enough for them to be released from their contracts. And in cases like these, the Brazilian justice system works fast and “always” in favour of the employee. Arouca should be free to sign a new contract by the end of the week. Great signing, if everything goes according to plan.

Finishing things off, a short note on forward Leandro, our number 38, who was out during the last month of the previous season due to pains in his left foot. During the pre-season, pains quickly returned and the solution was surgery. He should be leaving the hospital tomorrow but can only be expected back on the pitch within 2-3 months. Anything Palmeiras wishes Leandro a speedy recovery.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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COMING

It’s been two weeks since the last update: I’ve been taking it easy but Palmeiras haven’t. Actually, it’s Alexandre Mattos and Cícero Souza who’ve been busy, bringing in new players expected to contribute to the spine of Palmeiras’ squad anno 2015. Apart from the three players previously announced – Amaral (Goiás), Vitor Hugo (América/MG) and Lucas (Botafogo) – at least four more players join the squad in January:

xxx_Leandro2Leandro – the 23-year-old striker has signed a five-year contract with Palmeiras, coming in at US$ 1.85 million for 50% of the player’s economic rights. At Chapecoense, Leandro scored ten goals in the second half of the 2014 Brasileirão. Approached firstly by Cruzeiro and Flamengo, Leandro was set for a transfer to rivals Corinthians before Palmeiras made the winning offer.

xxx_girottoAndrei Girotto – the defensive midfielder is the second piece brought in from América/MG and is by many considered one of the most interesting revelations of this years’ second division national championships. Turning 24 in February, Girotto comes on a one-year loan with an option to buy. In addition to his defensive qualities, the 185 cm tall player is known for taking powerful shots from outside the penalty area when opportunities arise.

xxx_gabrielGabriel – the 22-year-old defensive midfielder served Botafogo in 2014 before being released from his contract due to unpaid salaries. Palmeiras’ coach Oswaldo de Oliveira specifically asked for this player, having been responsible for bringing him up to the first team while coaching Botafogo in 2012-2013. Like Leandro, pulled from the claws of Corinthians, Gabriel undergoes medical exams today and should be officially announced next week. Daniel, another former Botafogo midfielder/forward, was also an option but did not pass medical exams at Palmeiras (knee injury, at least three months recovery), ending up at SPFC.

xxx_ze_roberto2Zé Roberto – with clubs like Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich on his CV, the veteran midfielder has been back in Brazil since 2012, playing for Grêmio. Despite having reached the age of 40, Zé Roberto is fitter than most and is expected to bring a lot to Palmeiras, both on and off the pitch: his ability to act as a mentor for younger talents is well recognised. The player has signed a one-year contract.

As we can see, so far, the priority has been strengthening the midfield. Palmeiras have been surprisingly active on the market and most sports journalists agree that Palmeiras are doing well, having signed the right players at the right price tag. Palmeiras’ new stance is also propelled by the fact that the club is financially in good shape, after Paulo Nobre’s two years of austerity.  

That being said, a few more players are needed, and of star quality: a playmaker (Conca or Cárdenas on the wish list), a striker (possibly Fred, if price goes down, or Ricardo Oliveira) and a left-back. A centre-back of rank (possibly Réver of Atlético Mineiro) is also on the shortlist. As we enter 2015, Mattos will officially start working for Palmeiras and more aggressively seek to secure the missing pieces of the puzzle. Many of the larger Brazilian clubs are experiencing cash shortage and top players might very well have to adjust their salary expectations in order to meet the new reality.

Out of the 20 (!) Palmeiras players serving other clubs in 2014, two seem more likely to be reintegrated into the squad: striker Maikon Leite (Atlas, Mexico) and defensive midfielder João Denoni (Oeste, Brazil). Personally, I’d like to see Chico (Joinville, Brazil) be given an opportunity as well.

GOING
In 2014, no less than 50 players entered the pitch wearing our uniform, and 39 of these still remain at Palmeiras. Coach Oliveira has indicated he is aiming for a squad of 34: four goalkeepers and three players for each remaining position, the third options for each position being a junior player. Needless to say, several players will walk the plank. A few have already settled their destinations: defensive midfielder Marcelo Oliveira is heading for Grêmio; keeper Deola plays for Fortaleza next year; Wesley should be pulling on the SPFC jersey; and Lúcio might be looking at ending his long, brilliant career in China.

2014 top scorer Henrique has not reached an agreement with Palmeiras and is now considering his options. Several other players will also see their contracts expire this year, without outlook for renovation: Victorino, Eguren, Washington, Wendel, Juninho, Bruno César, Bernardo and Diogo. Light-heartedly I see them depart, except for Victorino, who perhaps deserves a second opportunity.

REMAINING
To round things off, the Gabriel Fernando soap opera. The kid, who now prefers to be called Gabriel Jesus, signed a new contract shortly before Christmas, extending his stay at Palmeiras for another five years. This is obviously great news: Gabriel is considered Palmeiras’ greatest revelation in many years and was this year’s top scorer of the São Paulo U17 championship with an amazing 37 goals in 22 games.

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The bitter aftertaste originates from Palmeiras’ inability to close the deal early: again, blame Paulo Nobre, who let negotiations drag on for a full nine months. The original proposal from the player’s agents in March were for a salary starting at US$ 2.200 per month, increasing to US$ 3.000 the second year then US$ 4.400 the third. In the proposal, Palmeiras’ 75% share in the player would drop to 60%, while the agents would grow their percentage from 25% to 40%.

Nobre made a first counter-proposal only three months later. And while negotiations dragged on, Gabriel Jesus started to attract evermore attention. Naturally, the kid’s agents got bolder and bolder. The deal sealed earlier this month stipulates monthly salaries starting at roughly US$ 5.500, then, US$ 9.300, US$ 13.000, US$ 16.700 and US$ 22.200 for the four consecutive years. Much more unfortunate: Palmeiras’ share in the player has dropped from 75% to 30%, meaning the club will receive considerably less if/when the player transfers to another club.

Actually, Palmeiras came very close to losing Gabriel Jesus altogether, as his agents were more than fed up with the hassling (although they, of course, had their share in it). In the end, Gabriel Jesus’ personal wish to remain at Palmeiras was the determining factor.
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Paulo Nobre enjoying his lucky break.

Paulo Nobre enjoying his lucky break.

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Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Palmeiras lost fair and square to Atlético Mineiro, the scorecard reading 2-1 at fulltime. An open game, with both teams pursuing the three points. It would actually have been a pleasant game, had it not been for the festival of errors: some 100 passes didn’t find the right destination. Pleasant, had it not been for the eight straight game without victory in the Brasileirão. And the apparent low gears of Leandro, Wesley… The absurd limitations of Josimar, Menezes… You know the script.
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The Verdão are 1 point from the relegation zone after 14 rounds. Have not won a game in the Brazilian championship since the post World Cup retake. Obviously, Palmeiras haven’t got the best of squads, but it’s still, on paper, far from the worst. Many more humble squads are doing better. We need answers, and quickly, in order to avoid the disaster of all disasters in this year of the centenary.

The rumble is not only affecting players, but players have started creating their own. Something’s cooking involving Wesley, Leandro, Deola… Especially Wesley – considered a central piece and a good player – has been underperforming for quite some time. The locker room was apparently very tense after yesterday’s game. His contract is about to be renewed. Or is it? I seriously don’t know what to hope for, but based on my gut feeling, it might be best if he walked.

There’s also rumble on president Paulo Nobre’s doorstep. Literally. As these lines are being written. Palmeiras’ largest supporter group – the Mancha Alviverde – are positioned outside Nobre’s house. Two busloads and then some. A peaceful protest; at least that’s the order. But pressure is rising, no doubt.

In the meantime, mixed expectations in regard to Sunday’s derby against São Paulo. A victory is fundamentally important. Palmeiras should have Valdivia back in the starting eleven – or at least on the bench. If papers from Ukrainian side Metalist arrive tomorrow, Cristaldo will sign a four-year contract, make his debut in the second half and score the winning goal for Palmeiras.

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luis_felipe.
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.

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A fourth and fifth newcomer have already signed and are training with the rest of the squad in Itu, where Palmeiras are preparing for their debut in the Paulistão on 18 January: centre-back Victorino and midfielder William Matheus.

ImageVictorino comes as a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one. With Luan staying at Cruzeiro, striker Anselmo Ramon was supposedly coming our way in a swap. The Mineiro team however announced that Ramon is leaving for Chinese Hangzhou, and ended up offering Victorino instead. The 31-year-old Uruguayan defender was out of action all of 2013 due to a series of injuries, but is now recovered and more than eager to play at Palmeiras after having talked extensively to fellow countryman Eguren. He has signed a one-year contract, which can be renewed at no cost if Palmeiras so wish. Approved!

Left-back/winger William Matheus, who had a good year at Goiás last season, has signed a four-year contract with Palmeiras.

Also centre-back Lúcio has signed his contract, but bureaucracy hindered an official announcement to be made this Wednesday.

Today we also saw the signing of a four or five year contract with Leandro. Palmeiras had originally plans for a one-year extension with the Grêmio forward, but when Santos indicated they were interested in buying, Palmeiras opted for exercising their priority in the case of a purchase. Together with investors, the 5 million euro price tag has been met. This Wednesday afternoon, Palmeiras and Leandro reached an agreement regarding salaries: Leandro had previously asked for rather absurd US$ 125.000 a month, my guess being that we might be looking at roughly half that amount. When numbers are known, you’ll be the first to know.

Marquinhos Gabriel is expected to sign a one-year contract today (Thursday) after undergoing medical exams in the morning.

Expectations are also high for Bruno César and Jorge Moreira signing contracts in the coming few days. I don’t know what’s delaying Bruno César, as Al-Ahli apparently have agreed to the loan arrangements; hopefully nothing but time-consuming paperwork behind the delay. With Moreira, the difficulty lies in the 50% player’s economic rights owned by a group of investors. Libertad, holder of the other 50%, have already agreed to the conditions but the group of investors wants more money. I believe we’ll have a positive outcome also in these two cases. And a rather complete squad for 2014.

In addition, Palmeiras are contracting professionals to the technical staff: one assisting coach (Alberto Valentim, former Atlético Paranaense) and one fitness coach (Thiago Santi). These are important positions and will be part of the fixed staff of the Club, not coming or going as part of staff brought by each coach. With this follows improved continuity.    

One last thing: Vilson, who didn’t accept a shorter contract neither one based on productivity, left Palmeiras earlier this month and initiated negotiations with Cruzeiro. The incident drew heavy criticism upon the Nobre administration from certain groups within the club, as Vilson is considered a good and dedicated player. Others took a more cautious stance in relation to the whole affair. Today, Cruzeiro announced the signing might not go through, as, in the words of the Club’s spokesperson, “some minor issues” were detected during his medical exams. Certainly these “issues” were also detected at Palmeiras – therefore the offer of a shorter contract and based on productivity – but at no point did Palmeiras publicly mark Vilson, not even when receiving flak for not signing the player. That’s spelled ethics. Congratulations, Nobre and everyone involved.

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Friday’s game against Guaratinguetá sported Palmeiras in a classy, white jersey with Djalma Santos’ face stamped on it: a tribute to the legendary right-wing defender who left us last week. Unfortunately, the jersey was the highlight of the game. That, and Leonardo’s goal: a set piece from a corner featuring Vinícius and Valdivia.
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The draw saw Palmeiras dropping to second place in the tables, leaving way for Chapecoense. The result was no disaster and can be easily explained: the state of the pitch was horrendous, seriously limiting Palmeiras’ technical advantage; the referee was weak, allowing the game to get violent and turning a blind eye at times, most crucially when Valdivia suffered a crystal clear penalty; and last but not least, Palmeiras’ players not 100% on their toes.

This is something one needs to get used to, however frustrating. Palmeiras will be the favourite going into any game in the second division, that meaning Palmeiras are also expected to win. Have conditions to win. “Should” win. But will not always, of course. When drawing or losing, supporters will indifferently feel annoyed and irritated in the knowledge that those three points were more than accessible.
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Tomorrow night, Palmeiras welcome Icasa at the Pacaembu stadium, the adversary currently holding 9th position with 13 points, trailing nine points behind Palmeiras. Expectations are high for the possible debut of Sebastián Eguren – the defensive midfielder recently arrived from Libertad: his papers are now in order and there are at least no formal impediments to his inclusion on the list. Later today we’ll know.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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