The Grêmio situation is delicate in the Brasileirão 2021 table. Currently, there are 16 points – in 17 games – and the 18th place, inside the relegation zone, where it has been since the second round. Anyone who has lived through a similar situation, or even worse, however, believes in the possibility of reversing this moment. For this, what Grêmio needs is “tranquility and balance”. The evaluation is made by Gremista idol, Adilson Batista, who worked as a coach in the 2003 campaign of salvation, when Tricolor escaped only in the last round, with a victory at home, 3-0, against Corinthians, at the Olímpico Stadium.
“You have to play ball, be calm, calm. Everyone needs to embrace Felipão’s idea. He has a team, he has the conditions, he has good management. No madness, no despair. It’s in stages, winning, tying, winning, tying. Game by game . Some confrontations in which you have to win and others where it is possible to negotiate points. There are a lot of people nearby who are in the fight. Felipão, given his experience, will succeed, I believe,” sums up the former Grêmio commander. “You have to be balanced, well trained and aware of the difficulties that will be encountered. It’s game by game. Felipão is experienced, multi-champion, has everything to achieve. Work and have patience that will come out. Keep playing seriously, with determination, a greater degree of concentration. It’s having patience,” he adds.
Adilson admits that comparing what was experienced 18 years ago with the current campaign comes up against several factors. At the time, the Grêmio moment was much more delicate and “unwind” from the second half of the championship onwards. In comparison, in the 17th round, Grêmio occupied the 20th place, with 18 points, seven ahead of both clubs in the Z-2: Paysandu (PA) and Goiás (GO). Played by 24 teams, the tournament had only two teams as relegated. “The times were different and other analyzes were appropriate. There were four or five coaches in the season, another cast, and delicate financial aspects”, he points out. The team from Rio Grande do Sul entered the relegation zone from the 22nd round onwards and in the 24th they fell to the last place. The Grêmio comeback happened precisely in a classic Gre-Nal, at the Beira-Rio stadium, in the 36th round. There, Grêmio overcame Colorado favorites, won 1-0, with a goal scored by Christian, and “was reborn” in the championship.
Still with ups and downs, the team surpassed Juventude, in the 38th, but only went back to add three points against Paysandu, in the 42nd. In the last four rounds, Tricolor beat Vasco and Criciúma, drew with Santos, and escaped with a rout over Corinthians. Until the last moment, the team was being relegated.
The former Grêmio coach and former player also maintains that Grêmio’s administration has been well done in recent years and is capable of, with hard work, reversing this scenario. There, the Tricolor lived the drama of delayed wages. “Grémio comes from a long work, winning, some pieces arrived that qualified the cast. I see it as another model in 2003. We had a lot of difficulties. We won in the seventh game and left in the last round. I think that Tricolor won’t go through this this year”.
“Time for players to take responsibility,” says Anderson Lima
One of the characters in that campaign that avoided Grêmio relegation in the Brasileirão, right-back Anderson Lima maintains that in a moment of difficulty, the most experienced and veteran athletes must assume responsibility on the field. “The players who arrived are of the highest quality, but they need to know the club, the greatness of the club. Until they fit in, it takes time. It’s the day-to-day work. This is super important. Felipão knows how to deal with this kind of moment, but it’s like I said, the responsibility on the field belongs to the athletes, especially at this difficult moment and especially the more experienced ones. That’s what we did in 2003,” he assesses.
Photo: Ricardo Giusti
In 2003, Tricolor also saw the departure of a leader from the locker room, that of goalkeeper Danrlei. This Monday, midfielder Maicon, champion for the club, signed your contract termination, after leaving the field expelled against Corinthians. “When you are the leader of a team and the team sees the biggest leader in such despair, things get delicate. It’s like I said, the more experienced ones have to pass on tranquility to the younger ones. The more experienced ones have to give it to face to hit”. “The arrival of Adilson was important, but the athletes remained. Whoever started, went all the way. Athletes who had a history in the club. Roger, Darnlei, Tinga. It’s the name, the image that will remain. Any negative result stains this beautiful story that was built”, he adds.
Huge pressure and health problem
Like coach Adilson, the full-back confesses that the pressure felt in 2003 was very great, mainly due to the situation in the table near the end of the competition. “We played that Gre-Nal at Beira-Rio, being able to stay with an immense distance from the first one outside the relegation zone. It was the Grêmio centenary year. The pressure was very great. I had a health problem, I almost lost my sight in one eye. There was so much stress that I had a retinal problem,” he reveals.
The idea of overcoming difficulties, according to Anderson Lima, was in the locker room together with the union of all. “The locker room at this moment is very important. The players have to dispense with any kind of vanity. Each one of them must assume their responsibilities and make Grêmio one. Board, players, fans. Unite. Unity is the word,” he concludes.
Guild in 2003
17th round – 20th place – 18 points – 35.2% success
Guild in 2021
17th round – 18th place – 16 points – 33.3% success
After the loss to Corinthians, Felipão will have his longest training period since taking over the team. Grêmio will only return to the field against Ceará, on the 12th, at the Arena. Until then, the Grêmio team watches the direct opponents, who play this weekend at Brasileirão. In the case of victories by Bahia, Cuiabá, Sport and América Mineiro, the situation could get even more complicated in the table.