Palmeiras, led by the Portuguese Abel Ferreira, is already better than the historic Santos team that was led on the field by Pelé… at least, in the results obtained in the Copa Libertadores da América.
The epic victory on penalties over Atlético-MG (with only nine players on the field), last Wednesday, qualified the alviverde team for its third consecutive semi-final and kept the Portuguese coach undefeated in eliminations in the most important interclub tournament on the continent. .
Abel took the title of the two Libertadores already closed since he landed in Brazil, in November 2020, and is undefeated in the current edition of the competition.
Under his command, Palmeiras has played 30 matches in the continental tournament so far and won 23 victories, five draws and only two defeats (which in no way changed the team’s destiny). Its use is superior to 82% of the points put into play.
Not even Santos, who marked an era with Pelé between the 1950s and 1970s, and which is treated as the best football team that Brazil has ever produced, managed to be so successful in Libertadores.
The alvinegra team played four editions of the South American competition during the period in which the “King of Football” was available. In 1962 and 1963, he took the title. For the next two years, he stopped in the semifinals.
Santos’ use in Libertadores in the “Pelé era” was 71.4% (won 14 of the 21 games they played). The number is expressive, but it doesn’t even come close to threatening the current Palmeiras brand.
In addition to Palmeiras de Abel and Santos de Pelé, only one other Brazilian club managed to combine two consecutive continental titles: São Paulo, directed by Telê Santana, who won the cup in 1992 and 1993 and, on top of that, was runner-up in 1994.
But the Morumbi team, despite having gone to three decisions in the first half of the 1990s, is also far from the current performance boasted by its rival alviverde. In the “Tele years”, the team obtained 61.1% of the points it disputed.
The difference that weighs against Abel is that both Santos de Pelé and São Paulo de Telê took advantage of their Libertadores titles to also win the Club World Cup, something that the Portuguese has not yet achieved with Palmeiras.
In his first appearance in the tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo’s countryman didn’t even reach the final and finished in fourth place (he was defeated by Monterrey and Al-Ahly). Earlier this year, they managed to drag the decision against Chelsea into extra time, but ended up losing 2-1.
Before turning attention again to the race for the third consecutive Libertadores title, an unprecedented feat for Brazilians, Palmeiras have three decisive Serie A games in the next 16 days.
Leader of the competition, with 45 points conquered in 21 rounds, the alviverde team faces tomorrow the derby against Corinthians, in second place, which has 39. Then, they face Flamengo (5th, with 36) and Fluminense (3rd, with 38).
As has been happening since 2019, the final of the most important tournament in South America will again be played in a single game. This time, the decision is scheduled for October 29, at the Monumental stadium in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
The continental winner will represent the continent in the next edition of the Club World Cup, which still does not have a place or date to take place (it cannot be played in December due to the Qatar-2022 Cup). Three teams are already qualified for the FIFA tournament: Real Madrid, Wydad Casablanca and Seattle Sounders.
PALMEIRAS, by Abel Ferreira
SANTOS, by Pele
1962 to 1965
71.4% of use
SÃO PAULO, by Telê Santana
1992 to 1994