Thursday, 30 October 2014

Spilled milk and fallen trees

Twenty years ago Palmeiras were obliterating all around them with an all-star team bankrolled by an Italian company. Now in their centenary year, Verdão are in danger of being relegated from Brazil's top division...

“Who could stop an attack formed by Rivaldo, Evair and Edmundo?” asked Brazilian magazine Placar in 1994, before providing the simple answer to its own question: “Nobody.”

The same year Brazil won its tetra in the USA, that 'trio mágico' fired Palmeiras to its fourth and most recent Brasileirão title. Laying waste to all defences that dared oppose them, these three players scored 38 of their team’s 58 goals that season. They were the sharp end of one of Brazil’s most attractive modern club sides, a team powered by Sampaio, Mazinho and Zinho, and fortified by a backline including the great Roberto Carlos.

This was Parmalat-era Palmeiras, a Brazilian dream team bought with Italian milk.

Twenty years later, Palmeiras are unrecognisable from their present incarnation. Now the dairy millions have evaporated and Verdão are a mediocre yo-yo side perpetually drawn into the relegation churn.

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