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Posts Tagged ‘rafael marques’

vitor-hugo-palmeirasPalmeiras supporters are likely to have seen the last of Vitor Hugo. Coach Cuca today confirmed the centre-defender is heading for Fiorentina, in return for € 8 million. Out of these, € 4.5 million go to Palmeiras, who in turn will pass on € 1.75 million to Crefisa – the amount corresponds to what the sponsor paid for the athlete in 2015. Thus, Palmeiras’ net revenue are € 2.75 million. The remaining € 3.5 million belong to Tombense, the other holder of the player’s economic rights.

The European transfer windows only opens in June, but Vitor Hugo is likely to be released from his obligations as of now. For Palmeiras, he played a total of 131 games, scoring 13 goals. Anything Palmeiras wishes the humble, charismatic, talented and hard-working 25-year-old the best of luck on his new endeavour. Avanti, Vitor Hugo!

As an immediate response to Vitor Hugo’s exit, Palmeiras are set to sign Juninho, a left-footed 22-year-old currently at Coritiba. The youngster is expected in São Paulo tomorrow Saturday to undergo medical and sign the contract, price tag locked at € 3 million. I have a good feeling about this one.

Speaking of Coritiba: the club from Paraná yesterday confirmed the signing of Alecsandro, beating Bahia for the contract. Palmeiras will continue to pay the forward’s salaries throughout the year in an arrangement reached to settle an unresolved balance linked to Raphael Veiga’s transfer to Palmeiras earlier this year. The experience 36-year-old leaves through the front door after 62 games for the Verdão.

Another forward expected to leave any day is Rafael Marques: seasoned, still hungry, but with oh so little space in Palmeiras’ numerous squad. Cruzeiro is a possible destination, with a player from “the Fox” likely to be involved in a swap.

Finally, a piece of news we nourished hopes not having to declare, but was confirmed tonight: the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) sentenced Felipe Melo to six games of suspension for throwing a punch while chased by numerous Peñarol players after the final whistle in Montevideo late April (recap here and here). The original three Uruguayan aggressors received five games each. The Peñarol player caught on tape knocking Willian down seconds before the final whistle goes unpunished. It is a disgrace, it is a scandal, it is CONMEBOL in a nutshell. Palmeiras have already challenged the sentence, seeking it reduced to the minimum three games of suspension. Good luck with that.

In weeks, CONMEBOL will also rule on the responsibility of each team for what happened in Uruguay. Nothing good can come out of this. At Anything Palmeiras, we stand our ground: should CONMEBOL slap a significant punishment on Palmeiras for being ambushed at the Campeón del Siglo, Palmeiras should walk out on the tournament altogether.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Although Cuca and directors say the squad is closed, inevitably there will be some movement. While keeping intact the starting eleven contenders, minor adjustments have recently been made:

Jonathan Cristaldo last week left for Mexican Cruz Azul. At Palmeiras, the extremely charismatic forward turned into a talisman of sorts, sparsely used but often proven decisive when so, scoring important last-minute goals. Palmeiras paid R$ 8 million when signing the Argentine in August of 2014, accepting the offer of R$ 10 million to now let him go. The deal satisfies all parties: Cristaldo was not happy as benchwarmer and Palmeiras have enough players with similar characteristics in the squad. In total, the 27-year-old played 76 games for Palmeiras, scoring 20 goals. On social media, the club posted the gif below, thanking Cristaldo and wishing him the best of luck. So does Anything Palmeiras!
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Rafael Marques has only played six games so far in the Brasileirão and would be allowed to defend another first division team already this season (the limit is seven games). Albeit not particularly happy with all the bench time, the forward has announced his intention to remain at the club, even with several teams making informal enquiries regarding his situation. Palmeiras have been equally firm: Rafa Marques stays.

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Leandro Pereira is back at Palmeiras, the club having successfully concluded negoti-ations with Club Brugge for a one-year loan. In his first spell at Palmeiras, Leandro scored 10 goals in 30 games before leaving for Belgium, where he did not excel. The 25-year old’s wish to return coincided with Barrios’ streak of injuries and Alecsandro’s doping suspension. The 190 cm tall striker is already training with the squad, regaining stamina after 20 days of vacation. Welcome back and good luck, Leandro!

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Yesterday afternoon, Palmeiras successfully concluded negotiations with Chinese club Henan Jianye, purchasing forward Rafael Marques’ federative rights for US$ 800K, signing a two-year contract. The player was very relieved, having loudly and clearly expressed his desire to remain at Palmeiras, even giving up bonuses he was entitled to in order to facilitate the closing of the deal. He immediately packed his trunk and left for Itu – where the rest of the squad is training – making a surprise entry, provoking laughter and applause from his comrades.
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Rafael had a very good first semester in 2015, then gradually lost space – and seemingly a bit of motivation – in the second semester. Charismatic and clearly identified with the club, I am pleased with the renewed contract, even though I do not see Rafael as fundamentally important on the pitch. He however tends to grow in decisive moments and is part of the family: the fact that Palmeiras went to lengths to keep him emits good vibrations.

jeanYesterday, early evening, Palmeiras also signed defensive midfielder Jean from Fluminense. The 29-year-old was speculated at different clubs throughout December and January, Fluminense trying to play hardball although holding only 10% of the player’s economic rights. Truth is Jean wanted Palmeiras. And got it.

The midfielder, who is comfortable also on the right flank, became Brazilian champion with São Paulo FC in 2008 and with Fluminense in 2012. He did six caps for Brazil in 2012 (under Mano Menezes) and 2013 (Luiz Felipe Scolari). He has signed a four-year contract with Palmeiras and is, rightfully so, considered quite a catch.

And with that, the Palmeiras squad is set for 2016. Eight new faces in total: Keeper Vagner, centre-backs Edu Dracena and Roger Carvalho, defensive midfielders Rodrigo and Jean, offensive midfielders Régis and Moisés, and striker Erik.

The squad currently holds 37 players, but only 30 can be registered for the Libertadores Cup and no more than 28 in the Paulistão. Expect the likes of Mouche, Cristaldo, Allione, Nathan and a few more to find new clubs – either on loan or permanently – within a month or two.

And before I forget it: good work, Alexandre Mattos and Cícero Souza!
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Rio Claro came from two victories, Palmeiras from two defeats: another game a la Ponte Preta, and coach Oswaldo wouldn’t have much peace and quiet, the pressure rising fast as always at Palmeiras. The solid 3-0 victory was needed, showing that Palmeiras – still far from ready – nevertheless have the capacity, as they always should, to dominate these smaller teams. A few hickups in defense again; Oswaldo must dedicate some extra attention here. 
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Special mention to:

Alan Patrick – with plenty of personality, he has been pushing it hard game after game, but not always to success, starting to get on supporter’s nerves. Yesterday, he showed his capacity, assisting Cristaldo then Zé Roberto.

Cristaldo – for the first time positioned in the box as a true #9, the player’s killer instinct was highlighted: rapid movements, quick shots.

Zé Roberto – starting off on the left flank, later positioned in the middle, Zé Roberto scored his first goal in the Palmeiras jersey. At the age of 40 and 220 days, he is the oldest scorer in official games in the history of the club. May he break that record numerous times.

Rafael Marques – came in with not many minutes left but did what you’d expect from an attacking midfielder: set the place on fire. He pushed a counter-attack, called on his companions to move their positions forward, set up the piece and finished it all with a controlled strike, closing the scorecard for the night. Marques goes to the history books as the first player to have scored for Palmeiras at both the Palestra Italia and the Allianz Parque.

On Saturday, Palmeiras take on São Bento, away. Arouca is expected to make his debut. And possibly also Gabriel Jesus: the kid got a lucky break and was included in the squad for the Paulistão, as Cleiton Xavier’s papers did not meet the federation’s deadline for the first phase of the competition. I have a feeling Gabriel will make good use of the opportunity.

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A little reminder that nothing comes easily. Palmeiras have signed players like nobody else and considerably raised the quality of the squad, but today it’s only a squad, not yet a team. Against Ponte Preta for the second round of the Paulista championship, Palmeiras’ starting eleven contained three debutants: João Paulo on the left flank, Alan Patrick as offensive midfielder and Dudu up front. During the course of the game, striker Rafael Marques also made his debut. Ponte Preta did a good job applying pressure high on the pitch and shrinking spaces overall, complicating Palmeiras’ transition from defence to offence. Even so, the team created many chances but saw them barred by the excellent performance of Ponte Preta keeper Matheus Inácio.

No reason for panic. Training, adjustments, time. We’re only at the very beginning of a long journey with these men.
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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.

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