Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras or simply Palmeiras is a Brazilian professional soccer team that competes in the Campeonato Paulista and the Brasileirão Série A. Palmeiras is located in the city of São Paulo.

Founded on August 26, 1914, Palmeiras is one of the most popular soccer teams in Brazil. They play their home games at Allianz Parque, a stadium with a capacity crowd of 43,713 seats. Palmeiras holds the record for the most Campeonato Brasileiro Série A trophies. They have won the title on ten occasions.

Nicknamed “Palestra,” the club ranks second in the Brazilian Football Federation rankings. Keep reading to learn about the formation of this soccer club.

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Foundation Of Palmeiras

The idea of creating a new soccer team first arose among some young Italians who lived in Brazil. They loved the beautiful game and the history of soccer in general. They wanted a team that would represent the Italian community and is worthy of competition with the big clubs of São Paulo. However, they wanted a team whose primary objective would be only soccer.

Vincenzo Ragognetti drafted an invitation for those willing to join the cause. The Fanfulla newspaper published the invite, and the response was positive. Thus, with 46 people ready to make the project a reality, Palestra Italia was founded. August 26, 1914, will be remembered as the date when the club came into existence. Ezequiel Simone was voted as the club’s first President.

Palestra Italia played its first match against Savoy in the Savoy Cup, which they won by 2-0. The two goals came from Bianco and Alegretti, respectively.

Palmeiras First Title

Palestra played in the 1917 São Paulo State Championship, where they finished second. They faced Corinthians on two legs during the tournament, which they won by 3-0 and 3-1. Thus, the rivalry which exists between the two clubs came into existence during the competition. The following year, Palestra Italia secured its very first title by lifting the São Paulo State Championship.

The club’s remarkable growth continued as they purchased the Estádio Palestra Itália in 1920. The stadium-size was further increased in 1933. Besides, Palestra Italia’s home ground is the first stadium with concrete grandstands and barbed-wire fences.

By 1930, the club has won more trophies. Palestra’s fans created a chant to mark this remarkable achievement. It goes on as follows – “With the feet or with the hands, Palestra is the best in the land.”

Change Of Name Of Palestra

During World War II in 1942, Palestra was forced to change its name to Palestra São Paulo due to political conflict. Unfortunately, the first change of name was not enough as more political debate arose. Therefore, the team had to opt for a second change of name. On September 20, 1942, board members held a meeting to discuss the problem. Finally, the name Palmeiras became associated with the club.

Palmeiras Are The First World Champion

The Copa Rio tournament was first held in 1951, where teams from Europa, Brazil, and Uruguay competed against one another. Eight teams participated in the competition. They were Vasco da Gama, Austria Vienna, Nacional, Sporting Lisbon, Palmeiras, Juventus, Red Star, and Olympique de Marseille.

Palmeiras defeated European giants Juventus in the final to claim the trophy. By so doing, they became the first soccer team in history to claim the World Club Championship.

Although many issues arose concerning the first World Champion, FIFA eventually confirmed Palmeiras as the holder of this record.

Palmeiras Golden Era

The 1960s and 1970s are considered as the golden era of Palmeiras. The Brazilian club won it all. With the likes of Ademir da Guia in the squad, the team produced remarkable performances. Following their breathtaking displays, the nickname “Academy” of Brazilian soccer got associated with Palmeiras.

Palestra won the 1965 Rio – São Paulo championship in style. They overcame clubs like Santos, Vasco, São Paulo, and Botafogo, among others, on huge scores during the competition.

Palmeiras’ superb performances did not go unnoticed. The whole soccer world and the Brazilian Sports Federation (CBD) witnessed a team made of steel. As a result, the entire Palestra squad was invited to join the Brazilian national team for the first international match at the Minerão Stadium. Brazil won the fixture by 3-0 against Uruguay.

Many star players wore the Palmeiras during the 1960s. Few names are Luís Pereira, Leivinha, Emerson Leão, Dudu, and César. The club also captured the Copa do Brasil and the Roberto Gomes Pedrosa. Palmeiras won additional trophies during the 1970s. They are the São Paulo State Championship, the Brazilian Championship, the Ramón de Carranza Trophy, and the Mar del Plata Trophy.

The Dark Days Of Palmeiras

The 1980s remain one of the darkest days in the club’s history as they failed to lift any titles or championships. During the same period, Palmeiras fans introduced a “Pig” named Gobatto as their mascot.

Two events marked Palmeiras in the 1980s. The first one is a goal scored by the referee José de Assis Aragão for Palmeiras against Santos. This incident happened during the 1983 State Championship.

The second is when striker Gaúcho moved into the goalkeeping position to replace injured goalkeeper Zetti. The player broke a leg in the game’s dying minutes against Flamengo in the Brazilian Championship. Nevertheless, Gaúcho saved two penalties in the shootout session and scored one from the spot-kick.

Palmeiras came close to reaching the final of the São Paulo State Championship in 1989. However, they lost to Bragantino in the semis. As a result, the Palmeiras fans who became accustomed to seeing their team win trophies were left empty-handed.

Return To Glory Days

Following a 16 years trophy drought, the once feared Palmeiras needed to return on their perch. An eight-year sponsorship deal with Parmalat in 1992 meant that the club could again invest in players and the future. As a result, the redevelopment process did not take long.

In the 1990s, Palmeiras dominated Brazil soccer again, winning multiple trophies. Some promising players featured in Palestra’s 1993 squad. They were Evair, Zinho, Edmundo, César Sampaio, Mazinho, Antônio Carlos and Edílson.

With a team capable of competing for silverware, Palmeiras defied Corinthians in the Campeonato Paulista in 1993. Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s men claimed the much-awaited trophy. They went on to win the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A and the Campeonato Paulista the same year. Palestra retained both trophies the following year.

With Rivaldo, Muller, Djalminha, and Luizão in the Palmeiras team, they seemed unbeatable. They lifted the 1996 Campeonato Paulista scoring over 100 goals during the campaign. In 1998, the club completed a historic double, claiming both the Copa do Brasil and the Mercosur Cup.

Copa Libertadores Winners

Under the management of Luiz Felipe Scolari, Palmeiras had a dream team. Players like Marcos, Zinho and Roque Júnior, Alex, Evair, Paulo Nunes and César Sampaio featured in Palestra’s squad. The gaffer led the team to a 1999 Copa Libertadores final where they were opposed against Columbian team, Deportivo Cali.

During the first leg in Cali, the Columbian club won by 1-0. In the return leg at Estádio Palestra Itália, Palmeiras defeated Deportivo Cali by 2-1 to take the game into the penalty shootout. Palestra won the penalty session to claim their first Copa Libertadores trophy. They retained the title the following year by overcoming Boca Juniors in the finals.

Palmeiras claimed two additional trophies in 2002. They were the Rio-São Paulo Tournament and the Brazilian Champions’ Cup. The two finals won were against Vasco da Gama and Sport Recife.

Having won numerous trophies in the 1990s, the São Paulo State Football Federation (FPF) awarded Palmeiras the title of Best Team of the 20th Century of Brazil.

The 1999 Intercontinental Cup Final

Palmeiras faced Manchester United in the 1999 Intercontinental Cup final. The fixture took place at National Stadium in Tokyo. A total of 53,372 soccer fans gather in the stadium to witness the encounter.

During an epic final where Palmeiras dominated the game, Roy Keane scored for The Red Devils in the 35th minute. The match ended in a 1-0 win for the English club. The defeat was heartbreak for Palmeiras fans as they believed they were the better side.

Relegation To The Campeonato Brasileiro Série B

The sponsorship boost received by Parmalat benefited the club’s overall performance. It became apparent when the deal ended in 2000. The club struggled due to a lack of finance, and it was reflected in their overall performance. As a result, Palmeiras was relegated to the Campeonato Brasileiro Série B in 2002.

Despite suffering relegation, it did not take long for the Brazilian club to return to Série A. They made their comeback to the top-tier league in 2004. However, as the years went by, the club could not replicate their best performances.

A Sports Marketing Agency named Traffic struck a sponsorship deal with Palmeiras in 2008. It allowed the club to capture the signature of some promising players. Under the management of newly appointed coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, Palmeiras claimed the 2008 Campeonato Paulista.

The Allianz Parque Construction

The year 2014 will mark 100 years since Palmeiras came into existence. To celebrate this occasion, the club decided that they would inaugurate their new stadium. The Palestra Itália was therefore demolished, and the construction of the new stadium began.

The building process took nearly four years. Meanwhile, Palmeiras played their games at the Pacaembu Stadium.

Return Of Luiz Felipe Scolari

On January 1, 1998, former Palmeiras coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari returned to the club. The gaffer helped the Brazilian team secure a second Copa do Brasil in 2012. Led by club captain Marcos Assunção, Palmeiras defeated Coritiba in the final.

A few months later, Scolari left the club after a series of poor performances and results.

Another Relegation For Palmeiras

Palmeiras’ performance dropped before the departure of Scolari. The club signed Gilson Kleina to coach the team, but the gaffer failed to avoid relegation. As a result, Palmeiras suffered a second relegation in their history.

The team produced some excellent results in the next campaign to secure promotion back to the Série A. They booked their ticket to the top-tier league with six games left.

Despite promoting the team, Kleina was sacked during the 2014 campaign. The departure of Kleina resulted in more players leaving Palmeiras. The club appointed Ricardo Gareca, but the manager was unable to produce the desired results.

Dorival Júnior was assigned the task of rescuing the team from relegation. With Fernando Prass and Jorge Valdivia returning from injury, Palmeiras escaped relegation by finishing 16th in the league.

New Stadium And Bigger Dreams

November 19, 2014, marked the inauguration of the newly-built Allianz Parque. In addition, the club started the campaign with the appointment of a new coach and soccer director.

A squad reshuffled meant that 25 new players joined Palmeiras. Besides, the club also promoted young talents from their academy. Palestra reached the Campeonato Paulista final, but lost to Santos.

Oswaldo de Oliveira was sacked and replaced by former Cruzeiro coach, Marcelo Oliveira. The gaffer guided Palmeiras to a third Copa do Brasil final.

The two-legged final went on penalties after the score finished 2-2 on aggregate. Palmeiras eventually won the penalty shootout session by 4-3. It was the season that marked the revelation of the talented Gabriel Jesus.

A National League Title Under Cuca

Cuca was appointed as Palmeiras coach in March 2016. The talented manager led Palestra to an incredible campaign where the team secured their ninth Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. Jesus ended the campaign as the club leading goalscorer.

Two years later, Palmeiras secured a record tenth Campeonato Brasileiro Série A title. Another record achieved by the club that season was the undefeated streak of 23 games.

2020 And The Future

The Covid-19 pandemic hit the whole soccer community. As a result, soccer worldwide had to be abandoned or continued behind closed doors for over a year.

Despite all the incidents, Palestra’s performance kept on climbing. As a result, Palmeiras secured four trophies during the year 2020. First, the club won a fourth Copa do Brasil final after overcoming Grêmio in a two-legged final. Then, Palestra went on to secure a fifth Torneio Rio-São Paulo.

Palmeiras lifted a 25th Campeonato Paulista during the same year. They defeated Corinthians over two legs. Also, in the 2020 Copa Libertadores Final, Palestra faced Santos in the final. After a mouth-watering fixture, the game ended in a 1-0 win for Palmeiras. The game’s only goal came from Breno Lopes on the 90+9 minutes.

Palmeiras’ future looks very promising. However, the club and fans would like to see their team win more games and trophies in the coming years.

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