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Exactly on this day, 100 years ago, Palmeiras played their first official match. Who could imagine that the little club, created less than two years earlier, would one day become Brazil’s biggest holder of national championship titles?

The Palestra Italia, as the club was known back then, was born on 26 August 1914 by Italian immigrants in São Paulo. In order to attract interest and players, the club went about advertising in the local Fanfulla newspaper, while arranging small, internal tournaments to select the best players. Training sessions followed, then a series of friendlies.

In 1916, the club Scottish Wanderers were kicked out of the “Paulista Association of Athletic Sports” for having divided the income of their matches between players – something forbidden in amateur leagues of the time. Palestra Italia seized the opportunity, grabbing the vacant spot in the championship after having committed to contribute financially to the renovation of a stadium where games were to be played. In addition to the Palestra, the league consisted of São Paulo, Santos, São Bento Athletic Association of Palmeiras, Ypiranga and Mackenzie.

On 13 May 1916, Fabbrini, Grimaldi, Bianco, Ricco, Fabbi II, De Biasi, Gobato, Valle II, Vescovini, Bernardini and Severino drew 1-1 with Mackenzie, Gobato scoring Palestra Italia’s first official goal. Ricco was the captain and Giuseppe Roberti, the coach. The draw against Mackenzie, last year’s runner-up, was considered a good result, Palestra having only a couple of known players in their young squad.
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palestra_first_flash

Palestra Italia – the first flash

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Palestra Italia ended the 1916 edition of the São Paulo championship in 6th place, the highlight of the campaign being a 4-2 victory over Santos.

Since that day a century ago, Palmeiras have played another 4.401 official games, according to the always excellent Instituto Palestrino de Estatística blog. Out of these, 2.305 victories and 1.087 draws, corresponding to 61% of points won (if adopting the current standards across the board, where a victory is rewarded three points).

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra! 

 

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Oswaldo de Oliveira was sacked earlier this week.

Although not yet officially announced, Marcelo Oliveira – 2013-2014 champion with Cruzeiro – is taking over the reigns.

Striker Alecsandro has signed a contract until end of 2016, promising to score plenty of goals.

Alan Patrick and Ayrton has left for Flamengo: thank you and goodbye.

Today, a bust over legendary keeper Oberdan Cattani – who would have turned 96 on this very day had he still been with us – was unveiled at the Allianz Parque.

Today also marked the day the Rua Turiassú changed name to Rua Palestra Italia, paying homage to Palmeiras’ glorious past.

Mattos is hunting in Europe: rumour says it’s big game in his crosshairs this time.

Short but sweet as doors close and we’re ready for takeoff. Avanti!

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In our previous Sonar pings, reference was made to two players expected to arrive: Arancibia and Egídio. And they did arrive.

egidio_assinaLeft-defender Egídio signed a contract worth three seasons at Palmeiras, having being release from his previous short-lived contract with FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Egídio, previously at Cruzeiro and voted best left-back in the Brazilian league 2014, claims he was without receiving at the Ukrainian club. Not surprisingly, Dnipro claim differently and if this article is only half-true, both Palmeiras and the player might be in for quite some turbulence.

aranciWith Francisco Andrés Arancibia Silva there’s no turbulence, although other Brazilian clubs reportedly did what they could to cross the deal, as the midfielder is considered a rough gem. Arancibia is left-footed, 170 cm tall and only 18 years old. He will enter Palmeiras’ U20 squad and, expectedly, work his way up. Palmeiras has a one-year agreement with the player and O’Higgins – the first division Chilean club from Arancibia’s city of birth Rancagua. With appearances in the national youth squad and recently in the National squad, his price tag by the end of 2015 has been fixed at US$ 600.000.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Palmeiras of today thinking of the Palmeiras of the future.

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Thinking of the future sometimes takes us back in time. As you all know, Palmeiras were born Palestra Italia. Palestra Italia was also the name of our stadium, up until the construction of the Allianz Parque arena. With that, Palestra Italia was no longer physically anchored but “only” in our memory. That has now been remedied as a part of the Turiaçu street, exactly the stretch where the Allianz Parque arena is situated, has been officially renamed Palestra Italia street. The decision was formalised earlier this week, in the Chamber of the Municipality of São Paulo, with Palmeiras president Paulo Nobre receiving a document confirming the alteration.
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Palestra.
With the name change, future generations will always have a physical reference to the Palestra Italia. By honouring the past, we are securing the future. In addition, Palmeiras are now one of the very few clubs to reside and play on an address that bears its name.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Specialised in sport stadiums, the “Stadium Database” website has since 2010 been launching the “Stadium of the Year” competition. In total, 32 stadiums opened in 2014 and thus entered the competition (full list of nominees here).

Today it was announced that the Allianz Parque, with close to 34.000 votes computing more points than previous years’ winners combined, had been chosen “2014 Stadium of the Year”. San Mamés (Bilbao) was the runner up with Otkritie Arena (Moscow) coming in third. In the jury vote, the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium  (Al Ain) came first, followed by Brazilian World Cup stadium Arena da Amazônia (Manaus).
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On the Stadium Database website, it reads:

“Already before this year’s competition we knew Brazil will be a country well-represented in our Public Vote because of the spectacular World Cup stadia. After all, never before have there been 8 nominees from one country.

Still, by far the most supported new stadium in Brazil turned out to be the one opened after the FIFA tournament had long gone. Allianz Parque was occupying one of three top spots nearly all the time, from day one. And that result was achieved without any campaign to support it. In fact, it wasn’t until the last few days that the stadium itself promoted the vote via one facebook post.

A magnificent sign of support from Palmeiras supporters and not only them. The stadium also received significant number of points from voters in Europe and beyond. The final number of points is stunning: 134,725 is more than all previous winners received combined (!!!).

The new stadium in Sao Paulo had to match high expectations of a century-old Palestra Italia. It also had to fit within the extremely tight location it had to occupy. The challenge was faced very well.

Bruno Campos, architect of the redeveloped Mineirão: ‘An extremely compact and efficient Arena “squeezed” in a dense consolidated area in São Paulo, the Allianz Parque is designed to be adaptable for many types of events, dealing successfully with an existing structure and challenging urban conditions.’

Bob van Bebber: ‘The adaptability of the stadium in various configurations seems well resolved. The façade mesh is an interesting choice and may help diminish the immense scale against the close urban fabric.’”

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Coincidentally, today, the Allianz Parque facebook page upped a series of pictures showing the progress of construction during four years, the transformation from Palestra Italia to Allianz Parque. Below, the thumbnail version: click on the image to go to Allianz Parque’s facebook site and the full version.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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Expectations were high Palmeiras would officially open up the Allianz Parque on Saturday 8 October against Atlético Mineiro, but the police earlier this week claimed they are unable to give the stadium its operating license in due time. Palmeiras have two other home games this season: 20 November against Sport and 7 December, the very last round of the championship, against Atlético Paranaense,. The former date is the most likely, although Paul McCartney will be Out There on the 25th.

Anyway, yesterday, the Palmeiras squad conducted a first training session at the Allianz Parque. Check out the short clip below.
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It’s been almost four and a half years of waiting. It’s worth repeating: four and a half years. For most of that period, devoted palmeirense Bruno Caracciolo has snapped pictures of the construction site, week by week, collecting and posting some 8.200 pictures in total. I asked Bruno to select a few of his favourites and here they are, for your enjoyment: 12 in total, in chronological order. Bruno, thank you for your spectacular effort!
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11 - 15.03.2014.
12 - 17.05.2014.
13 - 30.08.2014.
UPDATE: I guess we can’t expect Bruno to take aerial shots of the Allianz Parque, so here goes one uploaded today at the official website of the stadium.
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moneypigThe normally reliable Verdazzo website yesterday brought an important piece of news: Palmeiras have been granted a substantial loan and on very favourable terms. In fact, the financial package was tailored some time ago in agreement with a financial institution, but not until last week did the arrangement also pass the needle’s eye of the club’s Fiscal Council. With this, Palmeiras will receive a considerable amount in two instalments, allowing the club to renegotiate short-term debts, equip the new buildings constructed by WTorre around the Allianz Parque, and enter as a major player in the upcoming transfer window.

The arrangement was possible due to the Nobre administration’s sound financial management, solid proposal and good professional contacts. But equally important – albeit far less glamorous – was Paulo Nobre’s pragmatic approach to maintaining dialoguing with key players within the club’s political structure, however revolting some of them come across. Without this dialogue, in a certain way making them part of the process, the arrangement would most likely have been shot down. Instead, Palmeiras take one more important step toward the shift of paradigms we all dream of.

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Dreams… Of which some turn into nightmares, at least for our rivals. How else could a corintiano describe his feelings when learning that the concrete of the shamefully government-funded “Itaqueirão” stadium in part consists of recycled concrete from the Palestra Italia? Corintianos, who gladly would change the colour of grass if they could, will soon step on Palestra concrete every time they enter “their own” stadium. Nothing short of glorious.

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It’s easy to forget, but a championship is also taking place. As mentioned before, the challenge is keeping motivation up. Last Saturday against América/RN was a complete failure in that sense: the  vast superiority in the first half didn’t translate into goals and the second half was a dish served cold, with Kleina’s strange coaching options on the side. A goalless draw at the Pacaembu against one of the second division’s weaker sides is unacceptable. Yesterday (Tuesday) night, against Oeste and the terrible pitch in Rio Preto, Palmeiras comfortably won 2-0 after goals by Leandro and Serginho. With 59 points and twelve rounds to go, Palmeiras are drawing very close to their virtual ascension, as fifth-placed Joinville are 17 points behind. Considering the current scenario, 65 points should suffice save a spectacular comeback by the team from Santa Catarina.

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Following a decision by the always present Supreme Tribunal for Sports (STJD) to punish the club after a fight on 27 July between members of two main supporter groups at the Dario Rodrigues Leite stadium minutes before the game against Guaratinguetá, Palmeiras play their coming two home games far from the capital. The club has chosen the Café stadium in Londrina to stage the games against Figueirense on 8 October and Guaratinguetá on 11 October. Before that, on Saturday 5 October, Palmeiras travel to Natal to take on ABC at the Frasqueirão stadium.

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Speaking of the STJD: Flamengo player Elias admitted to provoking a third yellow card – on direct orders from the coach – in a recent game against Santos. Remember Valdivia receiving a two-game suspension by the STJD for the exact same “breach”? Well, Elias was “punished” by the STJD with a one game suspension, which he of course already had served due to the third booking. It’s getting old but needs repeating over and over again. The STJD is nothing but a joke. A biased, bad joke.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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In 1942, during World War II and because of a decree issued by President Getúlio Vargas, banning any organisation from using names related to the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan), Palestra Italia was compelled to change their name – becoming Palestra São Paulo; “palestra” being a Greek word and thus not violating the governmental decree.

The change of name did not prove enough to soothe political and sporting antagonists: under the threat of having to forfeit all the club’s assets and be expelled from the championship that they currently were leading, Palestra had no choice but to change their name a second time. On the night before the last game of the State championship, scheduled for 20 September 1942, the Palestra board of directors held a heated meeting. With the debate reaching its peak, Dr. Mario Minervino took to the floor and asked club Secretary, Dr. Pascoal W. Byron Giuliano, to register in the minutes:
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They don’t want us to be Palestra, so then we shall be Palmeiras – born to be Champions.

The following day, tensions flared. The final match was against São Paulo Futebol Clube, a club who’s directors openly played the treason card in relation to “foreign” sport associations and had already taken over the facilities of “Deutscher Sport Club” through a forced merger. Now, SPFC was laying claim to the assets of the former Palestra Italia.

arrancada_heroicaPalmeiras entered the field carrying the Brazilian flag under the leadership of Army Captain Adalberto Mendes. Not long after the initial blow of the whistle, Palmeiras were leading 3-1. Next, a penalty was called in Palmeiras’ favour. At that moment, SPFC decided Palmeiras were indeed an enemy of the homeland and pulled their side off the field amid jeers from all spectators, even the club’s own fans. The next day, newspapers sold out as everybody wanted to see the photograph of Palmeiras entering the pitch with the headline “A Leader Dies, A Champion is Born.”

20 September 1942. A date in history. But a date that carries pride, determination and moral fibre into current days, that defines us, that defines Palmeiras.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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