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Yesterday, the never-resting Eduardo Luiz of Palmeiras Todo Dia gave us an update on the so far frustrated attempts to find a new coach for the Verdão. Jorginho was our directors’ first option (and I’d say also that of a majority of the supporters) but he claimed he couldn’t leave Bahia, a team he took over only about a month ago. Dorival Júnior, recently contracted by Flamengo, gave the same reply. Then there was Paulo César Carpegiani, the man responsible for placing Vitória at the top of the second division. Carpegiani preferred not even enter into negotiations as he considered a transfer inappropriate at this time. Gilson Kleina would consider leaving Ponte Preta but only to sign a longer contract with Palmeiras (at least until the end of 2013); our directors were tempted but got cold feet when internal criticism began to surge. Finally, Falcão also wanting an extended contract in addition to a rather hefty pay check.  

In addition to the fabulous (sic) five officially contacted by Palmeiras in the last few days, other names were contemplate: Cristóvão Borges (too inexperienced), Renato Gaúcho (a joke), Joel Santana (even more of a joke), Emerson Leão (persona non grata).

Would the coming few weeks prove to be the most important weeks in interim coach Narciso’s career?

No.

Today Gilson Kleina signed for Palmeiras until the end of 2013. By paying a fine of roughly US$ 150.000, Palmeiras released Kleina from his contract with Ponte Preta, where he had been since early 2011. The new Palmeiras coach will receive approximately US$ 125.000 monthly for the ungrateful task of saving the team from relegation and reforming the squad for next year’s competitions, including the Libertadores Cup.

With the arrival of Kleina, the last members of the former technical staff leave Palmeiras, i.e. Anselmo Sbragia (physical preparation) and Carlos Pracidelli (legendary goalkeeper trainer). Kleina is bringing his guys to the table: two assisting coaches (Jair Leite and Juninho), Fabinho Xha (physical preparation) and keeper trainer Palha.

Kleina is 44 years old and started his coaching career at the youth academy at Coritiba. He was the assisting coach for Abel Braga, following him to Atlético Mineiro and then Olympique de Marseille before going solo. Kleina passed through a number of smaller clubs before developing decent work at Ponte Preta, for which he has been receiving a certain amount of recognition.

Kleina will have to do more than decent in order to survive the threat of relegation, Palmeiras’ presidential election and the fierce political climate at his new club. From the bottom of my heart: the best of luck to you, Gilson.

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