The Palmeiras training complex felt like the setting of a media circus surrounding keeper Marcos. The 38 year old goalie gave a press conference to mark the end of this active career. The club legend drew a stream of reporters to the complex where Ajax is training this week.
No fewer than forty cameras were pointed at the podium in the Palmeiras sports hall. Everyone was waiting for Marcos, the keeper who has defended the Palmeiras colours for nineteen years. In all of those years, he played more than 500 matches for the club, with the highlight being the Copa Libertadores win in 1999. Three years later, he became world champion with the Brazilian national team during the World Cup 2002 in Japan and South Korea.
While Ajax was able to have a relatively sheltered practice only a stone’s throw away, the focus was fully on Marcos elsewhere on the grounds. Leading up to his official farewell speech, Ajax’s hosts had received almost 200 messages from journalists, confirming attendance. Not only the 29 time international himself, but his family and biggest fans were on hand to speak before the cameras. The keeper’s popularity among journalists was clear, as a number of reporters came dressed for the occasion in a keeper’s jersey with number 12 on the back.
There is a chance that 'São Marcos' will play in Saturday’s game against Ajax in Pacaembu. If that’s the case, Palmeira’s temporary home stadium will be bursting at the seams. In addition to the press, the fans will also want to bid their hero a fitting farewell.
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