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The additional wide-angle video footage that have surfaced in the last couple of days shows that Palmeiras were the victim of an outright assault at the Campeón del Siglo stadium, Montevideo. It all starts seconds before the final whistle, Willian going down after receiving a punch to the face, from behind, inside the penalty box. At the final whistle, Felipe Melo raises his arms towards the sky in his characteristic “thank-you” prass_attackedgesture, while several Peñarol players approach him, starts tugging (Melo still with his arms raised, defensively) then initiate a chase. Meanwhile, keeper Fernando Prass (pictured) tries to defend himself from a series of kicks and punches from three Peñarol players. As the debacle unfolds, now generalised, we see invading Peñarol supporters participating and, I kid you not, Uruguayan press (there is video footage of a photographer hitting Felipe Melo with what seems to be his tripod).

Yesterday morning, Palmeiras lawyer Leonardo Holanda personally handed in documents and video evidence at the Conmebol headquarters in Asunción, Paraguay. Piece of cake, right. Think again.

Awaiting trial, Conmebol has preventively suspended four players for three games: Palmeiras’ Felipe Melo and Peñarol players Nández, Mier and Lucas Hernandez. For starters, none of these was responsible for knocking out Willian.

Worse, the official reports from the referee and the Conmebol delegate state that the ruckus started when Felipe Melo, facing the Peñarol bench, made a gesture towards the sky, provoking a reaction from Peñarol players before mutual punches were thrown. The reports imply that “had it not been for Melo…”

On the day, Peñarol’s president stated he had ordered the gates closed out of concern for security (for whom? certainly not for Palmeiras players and staff left isolated on the pitch to face the rage of the crowds). The other day, Conmebol claimed THEY ordered the gates closed.

The signals are extremely worrying. Seems Conmebol will spare little effort to, at least partially, blame Palmeiras for the events in Montevideo. Absurd? Yes, but not that surprising, considering the entity’s stance on previous occasions involving Brazilian clubs and any other Spanish-speaking neighbours.

Considering the above, it is even sadder to register the deafening silence from the Brazilian Football Confederation. Add to that the silence from other Brazilian clubs and the overall lack of support from Brazilian sports journalists.

Seldom has it come through more clearly: we are on our own.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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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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