Centre-back Henrique has returned to Palmeiras on loan, but he is unlikely to start in their Serie A clash against Fluminense on Sunday.The Barcelona defender, who spent time at the club in 2008, moves back to the Brazilian top-flight having being on loan at Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen and La Liga side Racing Santander in the past two seasons.
With five clean sheets in their first nine games, Palmeiras have one of the best defences in the league. It means Henrique – short of fitness after being on his European off-season break – is unlikely to be rushed into a start against Fluminense.
“I’m on vacation since June. I spent the first two weeks resting and then I started training, but not with the intensity to play perfectly,” he said.
“(I) will not lack. I will work with the coach and hope to be available soon to the manager.”
Palmeiras forward Maikon Leite will pose a threat up front, having scored twice in his first three games since joining from Santos.
Reigning champions Fluminense have made a slow start to this campaign, scoring just eight goals in their first 10 matches.
Playing catch up will be even harder without the Serie A’s 2010 Most Valuable Player Dario Conca, who has joined Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande in a big-money deal.
Before facing Fluminense, Palmeiras will host third-placed Flamengo on Wednesday, while Botafogo welcome Corinthians and Figueirense meet Gremio.
Avai will be out to move closer to safety when they meet Internacional – fresh from firing coach Paulo Roberto Falcao and football director Roberto Siegmann – on Thursday before the weekend’s round of fixtures.
First-placed Corinthians host Cruzeiro on Sunday, Atletico Mineiro and Vasco da Gama do battle, as do Bahia and Coritiba.
On Saturday, Sao Paulo play hosts to Atletico Goianiense, while Atletico Paranaense’s search for their first win moves to their home game against Botafogo.
Struggling America Mineiro will go in as underdogs against Figueirense and Flamengo face Ceara, who had Felipe Azevedo hit a stunning goal in their 4-0 win over America Mineiro on Sunday.
Washington Luiz hit his own memorable strike in the same game, while Sao Paulo’s Fernandinho and Cruzeiro’s Wallyson also struck superb efforts in week 10.
But the week’s best goal came from 20-year-old Danilo Luiz, as he opened the scoring for Santos in their 2-1 win over Atletico Mineiro with an unstoppable right-foot strike from well outside the area.