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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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GJ2ManC
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And there it is: as widely rumoured for a couple of weeks, 19-year-old Palmeiras forward Gabriel Jesus is heading for Manchester City. Although details of the contract are yet to be disclosed, it is known that the price tag is €32 million and that the kid will remain at Palmeiras at least until the end of 2016. I say “at least”, because there are also rumours that if Palmeiras win a spot in next year’s Libertadores Cup, City might be convinced to let Gabriel stay for an additional six months.

Good to have this out of the way. Congratulations Gabriel Jesus, congratulations Palmeiras and congratulations Manchester City: I believe this is a balancede deal that is bound to suit all parts equally.

We’ll serve you more details as they are made available.

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Pear.
As expected, Leandro Pereira is packing. And as expected, he’s heading for Belgium. Club Brugge are forking out €3.5 million for the pleasure of having the Palmeiras centre-forward pull on their jersey.

So, why are Palmeiras letting go of their top scorer this season? And what’s on the cards for Club Brugge?

24-year-old Leandro Pereira turned professional in 2011, transiting through several small clubs in the interior of the state of São Paulo. He received attention in 2014 while playing for Chapecoense, at the time recently promoted to Série A. At the end of the season, he seemed set for Corinthians, but ended up at Palmeiras. Supporters of the Verdão were initially hesitant – used to “promising” players from smaller clubs coming and going without leaving a mark whatsoever – but little by little, Leandro won them over. A serious man, but with an easy smile, the 190 cm tall player positions himself well in the box, often scoring with headers but not only: in the last month, his quick and intuitive style of play has showcased his efficiency and objectivity, always seeking an opportunity to conclude. He has totalled 10 goals in 30 games: not bad, considering the completely remodelled 2015 Palmeiras squad, containing 25 (!) new players.

Thing is, it’s crowded up front at Palmeiras. Cristaldo, Mouche, Rafael Marques, Dudu, Gabriel Jesus, Kelvin… These all have rather different characteristics, but Alecsandro and – especially – Paraguay national squad forward Lucas Barrios are (or rather, were) Leandro’s direct contenders.

In the last few weeks, Leandro was mostly found on the bench, even while sporting good form. Many wondered why. We now know it was due to the already ongoing negotiations with Brugge. In the end, the Belgians bought 75% of the player: Palmeiras’ 50% and an additional 25% that were in the hands of investors (holding on to the last 25%).

The deal seems a true win/win/win scenario: Palmeiras have enough forwards already, and are making a reasonable revenue on the transfer – some R$ 5 million (US$ 1.4 million) net; Leandro takes an important step in his career; and Brugge get a quality player who has, I’d say, a good chance of making it in Europe.

Good luck, Leandro Pereira and Club Brugge!

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High noon, and all spotlights were directed toward Bruno César, the 25-year-old competent midfielder receiving his Palmeiras jersey, number 30, from the hands of president Paulo Nobre. We learnt the player gave up on receiving US$ 800.000 – a debt Al Ahli wanted to pass on to Palmeiras but the club was more than hesitant to take on – in order to speed up the transfer process. We learn he is eager to show his worth, to get in shape as soon as possible, preferably to debut for Palmeiras against his former club, arch rivals Corinthians. We learnt this and more, but unfortunately, our attention was irrevocably diverted by the unexpected news that our team captain, Henrique, was leaving for Napoli. The Swedes call this “smolk i bägaren”, dirt in the cup. You’re commemorating, you’re lifting your glass to toast, and something comes in the way to ruin your happiness.
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henrique.
Napoli had expressed interest in Henrique before, but as a loan. Now, with the transfer window closing on Friday, they turned it up not one but many notches: €4 million for Henrique, offering him a four-year contract. The players’ agent deemed Napoli’s offer irresistible, and so did Henrique, signing the agreement as Palmeiras gave their blessing. Of the €4 million – actually corresponding to only two thirds of the stipulated transfer fee – Palmeiras pocket 80%, the remaining 20% to be split between the player and his agent.

Henrique is a good player. And our captain. But he’s not irreplaceable. If the “irre$i$tible” offer made him change his mind, better let him go before he contaminates the rest of the squad. €4 million is not bad cash. The timing is not good, but that’s out of our director’s control. Now, a replacement is needed, and fast. Depending on what will arrive, we’re in better shape to judge to what extent Henrique’s exit was beneficial or detrimental to Palmeiras.

A final word, and always worth remembering: We Love Palmeiras. Players do not. They play for Palmeiras, and they get paid for it. Never expect their love, much less demand it. Hell, distrust any player who expresses his love for Palmeiras (there are a few exceptions to this last sentence, and we all know who they are). Adopting this posture will save you from disappointments, time and time again.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Barcos_Gremio.
Upon returning to Porto Alegre, some of Grêmio’s players were verbally abused by supporters awaiting at the airport, ventilating their anger after Wednesday’s defeat to Corinthians. Barcos was one of the main targets: “Go back to Palmeiras, you Argentine piece of sh*t” echoed in the hall, among other things.

Now, the question is simple:
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It was announced yesterday (Wednesday) that offensive midfielder/forward Patrick Vieira will spend the remainder of the year at Japanese second division club Yokohama FC, Yokohama paying Vieira’s salaries.

At the start of the year, Vieira was growing under coach Kleina, until an injury in April halted his progression. With Mendieta and Menezes having arrived at the club, and Valdivia finding his way back to the pitch, Kleina apparently sees little opportunities for Vieira at this moment. As Palmeiras continues with strained financial resources and a too large squad, one thing has led to the other: Vieira is yet another of the Verdão’s youngsters transferred on a short loan basis.

Vieira’s transfer is being heavily criticized by Palmeiras supporters, most of them holding the opinion that the very promising 21-year-old should be moulded at Palmeiras, given opportunities to not only train with the A-squad but also play games. Sending him to Japan is seen as stupidity, as Japanese football culture and quality is perceived as low. “There’s nothing Japanese football can teach Vieira”, to sum it up.

Vieira has been at Palmeiras since the age of 16. He’s dedicating his life to football. That is his profession. But that’s not all he is.

I haven’t talked to Vieira, but I know people who have: they say Vieira would have preferred to stay but is happy with the new experience that the transfer entails. Who wouldn’t be? Who wouldn’t, at 21, be thrilled with the opportunity to spend five months in one of the most developed and fascinating countries in the world, do what you do well, and get paid for it? Explore a new culture, language, social codes and values? Put your limits, your perceptions, and your mind to the test on a day-to-day basis?

Would Vieira develop better footballing skills spending five months at Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United? Quite likely. Would they have him? Not very likely.

Would a second division team in Europe help him develop his footballing skills more than he would at Palmeiras? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Another Brazilian team? Not likely.

There are no crystal balls and no guarantees, but I’d bet Vieira comes back to Palmeiras in early 2014 – as president Paulo Nobre and the player himself have clearly pronounced being the objective – as a more mature young man: wiser, stronger, hungrier. These five months will do him good – much better than if he’d remain only training with the Palmeiras squad and playing the occasional game – and will have spin-off effects on his performance on the pitch.

Hulk spent four years playing in Japan, most of it in the second division. Just food for thought.

To Patrick Vieira, Anything Palmeiras wished the best of luck at Yokohama FC and a happy return to Palmeiras, Allianz Parque and the centenary in 2014. Avanti!
.Vieira

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20-07-2013-19-18-23-zagueiro-thiego-meia-valdivia-figueirense-2-x-3-palmeiras-cristiano-andujar-divulgacao-20072013.
Palmeiras were once again put to the test last Saturday, this time against an opponent carrying some weight – Figueirense, from Florianópolis – and on hostile ground. Would Valdivia confirm his ascending curve? Would Alan Kardec make his debut?  Would the Verdão bag another three points? Yes, yes and yes.

Rising to the top of the tables, Palmeiras showed power of reaction: after Leandro having missed a penalty, Palmeiras went into halftime behind on the score sheet. Returning considerably more alight and with Kardec as the reference point up front, chances materialised: a shot from Vinícius was cleverly deflected by Vilson, finding the net. Shortly after, André Luiz bagged his first brace in the Palmeiras jersey, taking advantage of Figueirense’s weak aerial coverage, multiplied by the fact that the team had just become one man short. Palmeiras suffered the equalizer before Kardec, five minutes from stoppage time, put his forehead to a cross from Ronny, saw the ball hit the post and proceed in the direction of Valdivia, who securely placed it where it belonged. Don’t miss the highlights.
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Palmeiras have a week of training before next Saturday’s clash with current 12th positioned Guaratinguetá. With more quality players available than ever before  – Kardec, Eguren, Menezes – coach Kleina have interesting options to explore.

— ooo —

The extinction of the Palmeiras B team, swapping Barcos for four Grêmio players and the signings during the Confederations Cup brought total number of players in the Palmeiras squad to well over forty. That is now being corrected, mostly by placing players in other teams to gain experience: young Chico is playing for Santo André, João Denoni and Emerson for Oeste. Patrik is at Sport, while midfielder Tiago Real is heading for Náutico to join Maikon Leite and Leandro Amaro. Weldinho seems to be heading for Sporting/POR. The only player who has left “for good” is Maurício Ramos, now at Sharja FC. Well, there’s also the striker Kleber, who recently returned to Porto/POR after a not very impressive season over here.

Still no news on a master sponsor…

But apparently there’s a launch of an upgraded version of the supporter programme “Avanti” due within the week. Stay tuned!

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