As the Blues prepare to take on Libertadores champions Palmeiras in Abu Dhabi this Saturday in the FIFA Club World Cup final, here are some interesting facts about the Brazilian club.
A history of success
Founded in Sao Paulo by Italian immigrants in 1914, Palmeiras have enjoyed plenty of success in Brazil and abroad over the past century. At national level, they have won a record 10 league championships and four Brazilian Cups to go along with 25 Sao Paulo regional league titles.
On the continental stage, they have been crowned South American champions three times, winning their maiden Libertadores title in 1999 against Deportivo Cali of Colombia and enjoying back-to-back successes against Brazilian rivals Santos in 2020 and Flamengo in 2021.
Club World Cup experience
Like Chelsea, Palmeiras are making their second Club World Cup appearance after a fourth-place finish on their debut in Qatar last year. They were beaten 1-0 by Mexican side Tigres in the semi-finals before losing on penalties to Al Ahly of Egypt in the third-place match.
As South American champions, they also appeared in the fore-runner to this tournament, the Intercontinental Cup, in 1999 but lost 1-0 to Manchester United in Tokyo.
The first club world champions?
While they have yet to emulate their city rivals Corinthians, Sao Paulo and Santos by winning the Intercontinental Cup or Club World Cup, Palmeiras also claim to be former club football world champions after their victory in the Copa Rio in 1951.
The invitational tournament featured eight teams including the champions of France, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Austria and Uruguay with Palmeiras emerging victorious after beating Italian giants Juventus in the final at the Maracana.
While the club have made requests for FIFA to officially recognize them as club world champions of 1951, the governing body’s position on the tournament remains unclear despite an official FIFA Instagram post in 2016 to mark the 65th anniversary of Palmeiras becoming ‘the sport’s first intercontinental world club champions’.
Parakeets or pigs?
Palmeiras use two very different animals as their mascots – a parakeet (Periquito) and a pig (Porco Gobbato).
Parakeets exist in large numbers in the forest near Palmeiras’ former home ground, the Parque Antarctica and the club adopted the green-feathered bird as their first mascot in 1917 as a nod to the colour of their kit.
The origin of a pig as their mascot was quite different as it was originally a pejorative nickname used against them by supporters of rival clubs. However, Palmeiras fans embraced the nickname as their own and the club unveiled Porco Gobbato as their second mascot in 2016.
Big Phil in charge
There are a couple of connections between Chelsea and Palmeiras in the form of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Ramires.
Scolari had three spells in charge of the Brazilian club and enjoyed much success in his first stint from 1998 to 2000 when he guided Palmeiras to the Brazilian Cup, the Mercosaur Cup and Copa Libertadores.
The much-travelled manager also clinched silverware in his latter spells as the club lifted the Brazilian Cup in 2012 and were crowned Brazilian Serie A champions in 2018.
Ramires joined Scolari at Palmeiras on a four-year contract in the summer of 2019 but he parted company with the club in November 2020 after only 43 appearances.