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What an awful game that was, Atlético Paranaense vs Palmeiras in the 38th and final round of the Brazilian championship. With the best of intentions, you could put a few percent of blame on the artificial grass, but the rest really came down to uninspiredness, paired with our player’s continuous difficulties in adapting to Valentin’s idea of an advanced defensive line. 3-0 in halftime and Palmeiras were never ever close to react. Pathetic ending to a disappointing season.

That being said, Palmeiras did finish second overall, in a year where three coaches came and went, each with very different styles of play – proof alone the squad is qualified, enduring such stress and still coming out comparatively well. Many a supporter is pissed off, as expectations were sky high. However, one must also remember that in 2014, Palmeiras escaped relegation in the last round; in 2015, bagged the Brazil Cup; in 2016, the Brasileirão. Considering the 2017 campaign a complete failure only serves to illustrate how much Palmeiras have evolved in these last few years. And should continue to evolve.

Final standings: Corinthians (72), Palmeiras (63), Santos (63), Grêmio (62), Cruzeiro (57), Flamengo (56), Vasco (56), Chapecoense (54), Atlético Mineiro (54), Botafogo (53), Atlético Parananese (51), Bahia (50), São Paulo (50), Fluminense (47), Sport (45) and Vitória (43). Relegated: Coritiba (43), Avaí (43), Ponte Preta (39) and Atlético Goianense (36). Next year, the Série A will see the inclusion of América Mineiro, Internacional, Ceará and Paraná.

A more than honourable mention to Chapecoense, who finished 8th and grabbed the last 2018 Libertadores Cup spot. This was Chape’s best result to date in the Brazilian championship and extraordinary when considering that the team, end of last year, overnight ceased to exist. Now, without diminishing Chape’s feat… Chape finishing 8th also says a lot about Brazilian football club’s overall (lack of) planning and managing skills.

If 2017 was rather disappointing for Palmeiras’ A team, the youth divisions had a splendid one. In the São Paulo state championship, for the first time in history, Palmeiras made it to the finals in ALL age groups, with the following results:

U11 – Champions
U13 – Runners-up
U15 – Champions
U17 – Runners-up
U20 – Champions

2017_SUB11On the 25 of November, Palmeiras opened up the lower section of the Allianz Parque for the public, where the U11 and U15 played their finals. The free admission drew a 21.000 strong crowd, every available ticket was handed out. Many a palmeirense, struggling to make ends meet, that day had an opportunity to visit the stadium for the first time. This was reflected in the atmosphere, there was something different in the air, something dignifying. And imagine the emotion of 10-year-olds on the pitch, playing a championship final, with 21.000 people cheering them on from start to finish… Beautiful.

In addition to the aforementioned results in the State championship, Palmeiras’ U17 bagged the Brazil Cup. Indeed, the future is promising, although Palmeiras need to improve player transition from youth to A category. New head coach Roger Machado pays close attention to these details, they say.

Including the timely arrival of Roger Machado, signings are well underway. There will be no revolution, the spine of the squad is solid. Mattos and Machado will rather look at filling specific positions, where there were obvious fragilities this season, starting with the flanks and midfield creativity. On the left, Diogo Barbosa has been signed from Cruzeiro. On the right, Rafinha is speculated but Palmeiras are awaiting conclusion of the player’s negotiations with Bayern Munchen. Lucas Lima is arriving to be the playmaker of choice, with competition coming from Allione, the Argentine returning from his one-year loan to Bahia. In addition, former Botafogo centre-defender Emerson Santos has been signed, and Atlético Paranaense keeper Weverton should be announced within days. Palmeiras are also closely monitoring the situation of left-back Zeca, trying to break free from his contract with Santos due to unresolved issues regarding employer’s fees.

Anything Palmeiras will keep you posted on further developments. 

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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