Palmeiras’ Brazilian League championship is one of the greatest achievements in the team’s history. The story has it all, with star players, an emerging wonderkid at the heart of it all, and a battle against adversity.
Comeback Botafogo – Overcoming a 16-Point Gap
At one point in the campaign, Botafogo looked destined to claim the title. They held a 16-point lead in the league standings, yet somehow conspired to throw it away as Abel Ferreira oversaw one of the greatest comeback campaigns yet.
In the end, they were crowned champions as they won the whole thing by just two points. They had a remarkable close to the season to thank. The run-in marked an exceptional period of dominance and consistency from the team.
In November, Palmeiras looked to be dead and buried, when they were 3-0 down to title rivals Botafogo. Instead of turning over, teenager Endrick scored two brilliant goals as they rallied to an incredible 4-3 win. That intervention from the young Brazilian, gave him confidence, the team confidence, and raised expectations and trust from their supporters.
The Journey to the Title – Key Moments
That brace from Endrick back in November stands out as a vital moment in the title challenge, one that breathed new belief into the club and put pressure on those around him, but there were other matches that counted, too.
In the last game of the season, Palmeiras were to play Cruzeiro, with Luis Suarez looking to end his time at Gremio with a title before he departed, probably to MLS to link up with Inter Miami and his former teammate Lionel Messi.
Endrick needed just 20 minutes to score – his sixth in the last eight games – to calm the nerves of his team and help them earn a 1-1 draw that was enough to keep them in charge at the top of the table.
But the Sunday before that was just as important, when they earned a 1-0 win over Fluminense, with a single strike from Breno Lopes settling the tie, but leaving an hour of potential nervy football still to come.
Team Performance – Dominance Throughout the Season
Much of the credit has to go to their manager, who has been able to absorb the pressure of a frantic Brazilian domestic calendar, and adjust to the demands placed on him and his team.
Captain and central defender Gustavo Garcia was picked just 14 times in the league, leaving a hole to be filled once the experienced squad member had to be replaced.
There was also the inconsistent form of striker Rony, who delivered 12 league goals, and highlighted the importance of Endrick. The credit must go to Abel Ferreira for developing him along the course of the season and not simply turning to him out of desperation, but when he was able to deliver decisively.
Ferreira also switched to three at the back to juggle shortages, with teenagers often making up much of the bench. An injury to key attacking midfielder Dudu put the pressure on other creative players to contribute, with Artur stepping up after his move from Red Bull Bragantino.
Fan Celebration – Overflowing Passion
Of course, they could not have done it without their famously passionate fans. Palmeiras supporters, about whom it has been said: “It is unnecessary to explain the emotion of supporting Palmeiras to its fans, and impossible to do it to the non-fans.”
Needless to say, the supporters are enjoying yet another success under Abel Ferreira, who has now delivered the Copa Libertadores in 2020 and 2021, and then followed that up with back-to-back Brasileirao triumphs. They can contrast that with arch-rivals Corinthians, who finished a lowly 13th.
Impact on Palmeiras History – A Historic Achievement
For Palmeiras, winning is nothing new. Of course, there are the ups and downs that any club experiences, but they have four major trophies over the last four years. A Brasilerao in 2023 is added to the one from 2022, and in 2020 and 2021 there were Copa Libertadores wins.
They have 12 Serie A titles, three Copa Libertadores, as well as 25 Campeonato Paulistas – including the one they won this year, last year, and in 2020 under Ferreira.
Individual Recognitions – Standout Players
Ze Rafael may not have the star power of Endrick, but the player who joined from Bahia is an exceptional presence in the side anyway.
The defensive midfielder displays such resilience, experience and stamina that he turned out over 60 times for the team over the last season, and without him there would not have been a base to build upon,
Endrick, of course, started to confirm himself as a starter for the team, though he will soon complete his move to Real Madrid where greatness is already expected, if not guaranteed, from him.
With the majority of his 14 goals coming in the business end of the season, his maturity and clutch presence at such a young age could have turned him into a legend even in his brief time with the club.
Another player who stands out is undoubtedly the goalkeeper Weverton, who remained first-choice throughout the season even as the captain and central defender ahead of him, Gustavo Garcia, was only a starter for roughly half the season.
Socios.com and Fan Tokens – Commemorating the Title
Fan Tokens offered by the Socios.com app allows fans to celebrate their title win with things like VIP matchday experiences, tickets to games, behind-the-scenes access, and taking part in polls to choose favourite players and new kits. Ahead of next season and the attempt to land a hat-trick, fans can be at the heart of the action for another tilt at success.
Bright Future – Palmeiras After the Championship
For Palmeiras, the glory of the last few years comes with its own problems. The manager Abel Ferreira may have found his home for now, but he has hinted that the demands of the job mean that staying forever is unsustainable. There is talk of a move to the Middle East, so perhaps even the Saudi Pro League could come calling, or he could return to Europe after a middling experience before his trip to Brazil.
As Endrick prepares to leave for Real Madrid halfway through 2024, they will have to consider how to rebuild and use the transfer fee to reinforce. Several players, such as Gustavo Garcia, are past 30, and the side might need to be renewed.
Of course, with a fan’s optimism, they may look past all this and both demand and hope for that special thing, a Brasilerao and Copa Libertadores double.