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Palmeiras’ spot in the quarterfinals of the Paulistão already secured, coach Baptista has been using remaining games in the group stage to test some ideas and give benchwarmers the opportunity. The alternative line-ups have not cooled down attendance: 21,5K against Mirassol at 8:30 pm on a Thursday and today, at 4 pm against Audax, a whopping 28K on the stands.

Against Mirassol, only two or three regular starting eleven players in the line-up. Same thing against Audax. One must tailor expectations accordingly. The team played surprisingly solid against the former, 2-0, goals by Rafael Marques and Felipe Melo (his first for Palmeiras). Today’s 2-2 against Audax was less satisfying (goals signed Róger Guedes and Willian), but again: only Tchê Tchê, Zé Roberto and Vitor Hugo are normally associate with the starting eleven. In addition, it is natural for players to relax a bit, as the objective – to reach the knockout phase – has already been achieved.
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F_Melo_1st_goal

Felipe Melo celebrates first goal in the Palmeiras jersey

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In any case, from the two games we learnt that Antonio Carlos is a good option in the centre lock and that Guedes is finding his form.

With today´s draw, Palmeiras sustain an undefeated home streak of 19 games, being 15 victories and 4 draws. Eight long months. Eduardo Baptista’s overall percentage is 69: in 15 games for Palmeiras, he computes 9 victories, 4 draws and 2 defeats.

Attendance
Back to the topic of attendance: already in 2016, Palmeiras were pulling ahead of other teams in Brazil. With a 32.471 average attendance in 2016, Palmeiras rank 56th in the world, Corinthians coming in at 74th with an 28.764 average. Internacional is the third Brazilian club on the top 100, at 96th, with an 25.422 average. Considering that Palmeiras also had the highest average ticket price in Brazil last year – R$ 60 (S$ 19) – one can easily imagine the long-term effects.

The aforementioned study was carried out by Brazilian newspaper Correio Braziliense and looked at 2.956 teams in 75 countries. In case you are curious, the top five teams are Borussia Dortmund (81.178), Barcelona (79.724), Manchester United (75.286), Bayern München (75.000) and Real Madrid (71.280).

Allianz Parque now family friendly
Against São Paulo FC, a novelty: Palmeiras debuted a new, designated “family area” at the Allianz Parque. Any adult buying a ticket for this area can bring a child, up to the age of six, without additional charge. Something of the sort has been a long-standing demand from supporters. Finally attended!

Players in the MD
In the medical department, unfortunately centre-back Thiago Martins has joined Moisés. The youngster ripped his knee ligaments during training the other week, and just like Moisés will need at least six month’s recovery time. The misfortune did however not stop Palmeiras from renewing the player’s contract, extending it another year, now running until the end of 2019. 

Two more player are in the medical department. Jean injured his foot against Santos, but a full recovery is expected in another week or so. Arouca had a second surgery to his left ankle yesterday and has being taken off the Paulistão list, with Hyoran replacing him. Should be interesting to watch.

Last game before the quarterfinals is Ponte Preta, away, upcoming Wednesday.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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The almost month-long break during the Confederations Cup has by some, with yours truly included, been regarded as Palmeiras’ golden opportunity to catch up. For starters, coach Kleina will be getting important players back from the Medical Department, not least Valdivia, who seems determined enough: while the squad has been enjoying a five-day break, the Chilean spent his morning at the training grounds, doing physical exercise, with the aim of returning in full splendour.

2-0 against América/RN in the last game before the break propelled Palmeiras to a rather comfortable third position in the tables, giving Kleina and squad some peace of mind, also allowing for a good working environment.

Even more important are the directors’ efforts in closing sponsorship deals. There are however no news on this front, although Palmeiras are allegedly negotiating with six different companies. We’re all anxiously waiting.

In order for Palmeiras to really take off in the second division and enter the Brazil Cup as one of the favourites, a few good new players need to be announced. There has been progress. Recently contracted forward Ananias, mentioned in previous post, came on against América/RN toward the end and showed potential, being directly involved in the second goal.

meia-mendieta-recebe-das-maos-do-presidente-paulo-nobre-a-camisa-do-palmeiras-1371068257671_615x300Expectations are even higher on William Mendieta, announced last week by the directors. The midfielder, who defended Libertad/PAR in this year’s edition of the Libertadores Cup, has signed a four-year contract, Palmeiras being the sole holder of the player’s economic rights. The 24-year-old from Asunción seems excited with the opportunity to play for Palmeiras, having several times mentioned fellow countryman Arce’s success – easily the best-known Paraguayan out of the nine to have worn the Palmeiras jersey.

Sebastián_EgurenAnother Libertad player is allegedly very close to signing with Palmeiras: defensive midfielder Sebastián Eguren. The 32-year-old has the same agent as Mendieta and the agent the other day claimed the deal was “80 per cent sealed”. Eguren, currently in Brazil serving the Uruguayan national squad in the Confederations Cup, has quite a lot of Nordic experience, having played both in Norway (Rosenborg) and Sweden (Hammarby and AIK) in addition to Spanish clubs Villarreal and Real Sporting. If the deal goes through, it should a priori be considered a good one.

On a smaller note, we also have the arrival of Thiago Martins, a young centre-back brought up in the Mogi Mirim youth academy. Under observation by Palmeiras scouts for some time, the 18-year-old originating from the state of Minas Gerais has signed a three-year contract and is expected to train with the squad and gain experience before making his debut, which, depending on his development, might happen only in 2014.

Summing up: with several important players back from the MD and a few new names in the squad, expect a rather different Palmeiras in July. If everything goes according to plan, the club will have performed o pulo do gato, “the leap of the cat”.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

And not only on the pitch but in particular on the streets of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Salvador, Curitiba… The “facebook generation” of Brazil is finally awake, claiming for a better country. A country with “FIFA standards” also in regard to education, health care, public transport, transparency, safety… The list is extensive.

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