Posts Tagged ‘robinho’

Palmeiras and Cruzeiro yesterday night confirmed concluded negotiations in regard to four players: midfielders Robinho and Fabrício, right-back Fabiano and forward Willian. In short, the deal is as follows:

# Palmeiras return Fabrício to Cruzeiro.

# Cruzeiro keep Robinho for one more year, sending Willian over to Palmeiras in return. Both players can extend their loan agreements for two additional season if they and he clubs so wish. Palmeiras are not allowed to negotiate Robinho with another club without Cruzeiro’s consent.

# Palmeiras acquires 40% of Fabiano’s economic rights, keeping him at Palmeiras on a permanent basis.

willian_reducedThe only “new” player involved in the transactions is Willian, 30, nickname “bigode” (moustache). Originally from the small municipality of Três Fronteiras, state of São Paulo, the 170 cm tall forward had spells at Atlético Paranaense, Figueirense, Corinthians and Metalist Kharkiv (Ukraine) before making it big at Cruzeiro, regularly appearing during the club’s back-to-back Brasileirão titles of 2013 and 2014. His numbers for 2015 remained good, but dipped last year, with only 7 braces in 47 appearances. The weak 2016 cannot however be attributed to a lack of trying: summing shots on target in the League and the Brazil Cup, Willian divided second place with Palmeiras’ Gabriel Jesus – both with 39 – only behind Vitórias’ Marinho with 45.

Willian is an experienced, talented and hard-working player. Robinho had a good year at Cruzeiro and quickly got the supporter’s approval. The deal seems well-balanced and equally beneficial for both clubs.

Willian, welcome and the best of luck!

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!


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No other major Brazilian club has been more active on the 2016/2017 transfer market. Four players have already received coverage here, namely (in order of signing) Raphael Veiga, Hyoran, Keno and Alejandro Guerra, but two more players of rank – both midfielders – have been added to the squad: Michel Bastos and Felipe Melo.
33-year-old Michel Bastos has been in Palmeiras’ sights for some time. The midfielder, who doubles on the right flank, played eight years in Europe (Lille, Lyon, Schalke 04, Roma) before returning to Brazil and São Paulo FC in 2014. With 10 caps to his CV, Bastos is very experienced, competitive, and in my opinion a very good signing. The agreement is for two years, extendable for one more year.
Felipe Melo is also 33, has a solid international career (Fiorentina, Juventus, Galatasaray, Internazionale) and 22 caps with the national squad. 183 cm tall, the aggressive defensive midfielder immediately struck a chord with the bulk of Palmeiras’ supporters, and their enthusiasm captivated the player in return. “I got really impressed by the warmth of the supporters. Even before signing, they already had me feeling like a palmeirense. That makes all the difference”, Melo stated yesterday. The contract is valid for three seasons. Another very good signing, up there leveled with Guerra.

However, Palmeiras have not only signed players, but also defined routes for most of those expected to have limited opportunity in the 32-man squad envisioned by coach Eduardo Baptista:

Three players are heading to Chapecoense, the Santa Catarina club forced to undertake a complete restructuring after the tragic and criminal plane crash. Defensive midfielder Amaral, centre-back Nathan and right-back João Pedro are all on one-year loans. Chapecoense have repeatedly expressed their gratitude toward Palmeiras, saying the Verdão is one of the few clubs to have followed up initial words of solidarity with action.

Right-back Lucas, who spent most of 2016 at Cruzeiro together with Robinho, is today in Rio de Janeiro undergoing medical exams before signing his transfer to Fluminense. Offensive midfielder Robinho is expected to remain in Belo Horizonte, although the deal – which was to include the transfer of right-back Fabiano to Palmeiras – seems to have jammed somewhat.

Matheus Sales, another defensive midfielder, will do a year with Bahia, from Salvador. Also playmaker Cleiton Xavier is heading for the same city, but will play for Vitória, in a permanent deal, releasing him from his contract with Palmeiras. In compensation, Palmeiras will receive 18-year-old offensive midfielder/forward Yan on a one-year loan, with an option to buy. 

Defensive midfielder Gabriel will not remain at Palmeiras, his asking price for renewing considered too high by the management, Corinthians being the likely destination.

Forward Allione is reportedly close to Sport, from Recife.

While all of this is going down, palmeirenses near and far eagerly await but one announcement: who will be the club’s matador in 2017, the true #NINE? Speculations run wild, with heavy-hitters Miguel Borja (Atlético Nacional of Colombia) and Lucas Pratto (Atlético Mineiro) leading the polls. The former is favoured by most, but very expensive. Well, that is what we were told regarding Felipe Melo as well…

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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48 hours after having exited the Paulistão, and Palmeiras were already announcing modifications to the squad. And not minor modifications: regular starting eleven players Robinho and Lucas are off to Cruzeiro in a swap for Fabrício – comfortable as left-back or midfielder – and Fabiano, a right-back who doubles as a fullback. Both newcomers are younger and considerably taller than Robinho and Lucas.


Fabrício and Fabiano for Robinho and Lucas

Today, more exits were announced: Nathan is joining Taylor at Criciúma and Victor Luis is heading for Botafogo. None of these transfers are permanent, they are all loan agreements, same as the Cruzeiro swap. Different from Fellype Gabriel, who has been released from his contract. It’s speculated upcoming exits might involve Zé Roberto and Edu Dracena in addition to Leandro Almeida and Régis.

Cuca will keep on trimming, in line with his preference for a leaner squad with multi-purpose players, allowing for high rotation, a multitude of tactical option and an overall more vertical game-plan. The speed by which the aforementioned player transactions happened is the clearest indicator they have been discretely planned for some time, with Cuca in the driver’s seat. The message is clear: no one is untouchable as Cuca embarks on the mission to reformulate the squad according to his preference. And he’s not modest about it. “I know what I’m doing” and “We’re going to win the Brazilian championship this year” are two recent statements.

Good thing Cuca is confident, because the player swap with Cruzeiro is receiving quite some flak from supporters. Less so related to Lucas, who is a shadow of his 2015 self, but Robinho is a different story. Although the midfielder always suffered ups and downs at Palmeiras, he was heading the assists rank and had reached quite some status due to his spectacular braces against SPFC. Robinho was not uncontested, but in any case considered a key players in the squad. Cuca clearly thought differently, probably finding Robinho rather one-dimensional and without the necessary stamina and pace. “But Robinho was the closest to a playmaker we had and now we have none’, supporters protest. And they are right. Cleiton Xavier could be that playmaker (although he´s not a classical #10) but with his recent record of injuries, nothing can be taken for granted. Which has me thinking Palmeiras are preparing a high-profile signing.

In addition to that wishful-thinking-playmaker, is there space for newcomers in the squad? Cuca says he will promote fullback Augusto and midfielder Vitinho from the youth divisions. Argentinians Tobio and Mouche – currently on loan – will soon be available but Cuca´s intentions are unclear. Chances are better for midfielder Juninho, currently on loan to Paulistão finalists Audax. Stay tuned.

Signing off with a piece of bad news: Allione hurt his knee in the last Libertadores bout and today underwent minor surgery. Initial estimates are for some 4-8 weeks of recovery time.

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Hardly a better timing for a convincing away win. After a rather stale first half, Vítor Hugo finding the net only in the dying minutes, the game fired up considerably in the second half, with Jesus x 2 and Alecsandro also getting on the scorecard. The result provides confidence and tranquillity ahead of the upcoming sequence of four home games: two Paulistão games (Ferroviária this Sunday and Capivariano the following) and two Libertadores Cup clashes (Rosario next Thursday and Nacional on 9 March).

While still on the pitch, a reporter asked midfielder Robinho if this was the “real Palmeiras”, or if the level of performance of the last games – all draws – was still to be expected. Robinho’s message was clear: We need to improve, and we are improving. Poor coach Marcelo is taking quite a beating from people who don’t see how hard he works. Marcelo has the absolute confidence of the squad, and if things don’t always work out as planned, one must also look at the players, who might not be carrying out their tasks in the manner the coach intended.

It’s coming together. Just wait and see.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Nerve-racking, as could be expected, and a closer call than needed be, had the referee been better positioned to signal that second penalty which most likely would have seen Palmeiras 3-0 in halftime.

Never mind. It was a terrific game, frank and fought just like the away game previous week. Difference this time, Palmeiras completely dominating the first half, every single man stepping it up, not least Amaral, Jackson and youngster Matheus Sales, freshly promoted from the youth academy and as of day one showing surprising maturity. Robinho, back after injury, immediately restoring a good level of creativity to Palmeiras’ midfield. Barrios, the author of two goals that should have been an authentic hat-trick. Last but not least, man of the match Fernando Prass, with decisive saves in the dying minutes of the game, then a giant during the penalty shootout. Enjoy, just as the close to 40.000 palmeirenses in the stands did yesterday.

In the other corner, Santos effortlessly beat SPFC 3-1 to advance to the finals.

“The Fish” certainly are on a roll and many a sports journalist consider them favourites to win the finals. I would have to agree, were the games to be played on the 4th and 25th of November, as originally planned. However, Santos thought better the games be delayed, received support for the idea from the other three semi-finalists, and convinced the Brazilian Football Federation to change the dates to 25th November and 2nd December respectively. There is no doubt in my mind the three extra weeks will do more good for Palmeiras than Santos, allowing the Verdão to recover both Arouca and Cleiton Xavier, while Marcelo Oliveira continues tuning the machine.

Sunday, the same Santos await at the Vila Belmiro in the 33rd round of the Brasileirão. Depending on other results, a victory – although of course difficult – is enough to propel Palmeiras from 8th back into 4th position.

There you go. With a squad completely reassembled at the beginning of the year, Palmeiras reached the finals in the São Paulo championship, the finals in the Brazil Cup, and are two points shy of a spot in the G4. Any Palmeiras supporter telling you this year is a failure you put over your knee and give a good spanking.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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The taboo at the Morumbi remains: not since 2002 have Palmeiras beaten SPFC on their (sic) wretched grounds.

But today, the draw is a thing to celebrate, as Palmeiras played much under standards. True, the absences of Arouca, Zé Roberto and Dudu are important setbacks, but still: São Paulo acted like we are used to see Palmeiras, applying pressure high up the pitch, deploying speed through the flanks – and in particular Palmeiras’ left one – exchanging passes and advancing with ease in wave after wave. Retiring at halftime with a goalless draw was a treat.

Marcelo Oliveira tried to correct the stance at halftime, promoting youngster João Pedro on behalf of Andrei Girotto. Palmeiras improved considerably, but the game also became highly volatile, albeit entertaining. Until Palmeiras concede the goal, that is. Similar to the brace against Inter earlier this week: a mid-range shot from centre-left, seeking the opposite corner of Prass’ goal. São Paulo were more dangerous through and through.

Palmeiras tried to react, but nothing worked. Barrios asked to be substituted, Alecsandro entered. Then Kelvin on Lucas, Marcelo Oliveira desperately trying to find creative sparks in a team where even Gabriel Jesus was unhappy. Nothing indicated a change to the scorecard.

In the dying minute, the ball is passed back to Rogério Ceni. Alecsandro charges forward, the SPFC keeper tries to clear the ball but it deflects off the sole of Alecsandro’s boot before presenting itself to Robinho: the midfielder calmly chips the ball in a wide loop into the net to equal the scorecard. Palmeiras’ 100th goal for the season. And what a goal huh, Rogério? Hilarious. Ironic. In all honesty completely unworthy but who cares: Palmeiras salvage a point and cling on to fourth place.

What we saw today must not be repeated against Internacional upcoming Wednesday. 20.000 tickets already sold. The game will take place at the Allianz Parque, the grass having recovered sufficiently from the Katy Perry assault. A goalless draw and we’re through to the semifinals.  

 Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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With the holidays coming to an end, so does the one-liners…

On 8 July, Palmeiras beat Avaí 3-0 in the 12th round of the Brazilian championship, goals by Rafael Marques, Lucas and Cristaldo.

As expected, club president Paulo Nobre has confirmed that Valdivia will not renew his contract with Palmeiras, the Chilean midfielder heading for Al-Wahda (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) when his contract with the Verdão ends in mid-August.

Last Sunday, Palmeiras drew 2-2 with Sport, becoming the first team in 2015 to yank points from the Recife team at their home grounds; it’s well worth checking out the highlights below.

Palmeiras officially announced the signing of striker Lucas Barrios earlier this week, the Argentine-born Paraguayan having signed a contract over three seasons – more on this to follow shortly, stay tuned.

The Allianz Parque facebook page is rapidly closing in on the 500K mark and has become the most popular Brazilian sports venue on social media, overtaking the legendary Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Today Palmeiras – without Arouca and Zé Roberto – take on ASA in the second leg of the Brazil Cup for a spot in the round of 16, the first game against ASA resulting in a goalless draw.

Finalizing, a quick look at the status of athletes recovering from injury:

Alecsandro – likely to return next week, the striker, recently arrived from Flamengo, is in the final stages of recovery from a muscular injury.

Alione – the Argentine midfielder had knee surgery in April and is gradually stepping up intensity during training sessions, albeit yet not participating in collective activities.

Felype Gabriel – back at training with the ball after an injury to the left leg, the offensive midfielder is finalizing his recovery period with muscle-strengthening activities.

Mouche – after tearing knee ligaments in mid-January, the forward is participating fully in all training sessions and is expected back, if only on the bench at first, within a couple of weeks.

Robinho – the midfielder is in the final stages of recovery after a minor muscle injury and should, like Alecsandro, be available for play as of next week.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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