Learn the story of Leonor, the fan who met Allianz Parque at the age of 92

Palmeiras’ 2-1 victory over Red Bull Bragantino was not only important to the club’s intentions in Brazil. The game, although not quite like it, was historical. Perhaps not for all the 30,000-plus Palestinians who sing and rattle in the stands at Allianz Park, but certainly for 92-year-old Leonor Calio.

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A Palmeiras woman has developed a passion for Verdau in recent years. Always from Palmeiras, after the death of her husband, Saverino, the supporter became a fanatic. However, due to her age, she did not have the opportunity to visit Allianz Parque, until she was invited by her grandson Bruno.

A journalist who graduated from Casper Libero, Bruno has a strong relationship with Palmeiras. Accompanied by his father and grandfather, he grew up in the wake of the greatest national hero and saw Leonor’s love for the club grow. Speaking to our lectureTalk about how he feels about Alverede.

My relationship with Almeras came from my father and grandfather. We were always watching matches, we went to Palestra (Italy). It has been an event in every Palmeiras match. Palmeiras gave me a lot. I can’t say she gave me everything, but she gave me so much. A lot of my family ties, my livelihood, directly and indirectly, because I am a journalist and I decided to study journalism to work with sports because of Palmeiras. The choice of profession was due to a passion for Palmeiras. I was the club sector reporter at Gazeta Esportiva for nearly three years.

– We used to go to Palestra (Italy) a lot, but after the opening of Allianz we were able to take him (grandfather) only once. Mobility was very difficult due to his advanced age. He didn’t like to use a wheelchair, so it was complicated. He was already having some health problems and we took him to a match at Allianz Parque, Palmeiras won 1-0, my dad and I took him. Then we could no longer take him to the stadium, and after a while he died. Before his death, we only watched matches on TV, always at his house.

– My grandmother was not very interested. She was more interested in serving us chocolates for us to eat at game time than in watching, and she didn’t care much. But after my grandfather’s death, she took over this role over time. I don’t know if she’s conscious or not, but she was taking on his role in our fan trio. I grew up wanting to watch one game and another and another. She is currently watching over everyone. It’s at a level that, despite her age, she accompanies the team at the level of asking, “Is Veron not yet? Has she been hurt?” which might come as a surprise given her age. We never took her to the field before, firstly because it developed over time, despite her support and everything, the closer to the club happened more after my grandfather passed away. And for the same serious reason, we were too afraid to take it. Those who go to the stadium know, it’s an audience, there’s no way to beat it. It’s a mess, even if it’s a yard. It’s football, not opera. We had that fear, but we decided to take on the challenge.

(Photo: personal archive)

Then Bruno had an idea. Driven by the fanaticism of the 92-year-old from Palmeiras, he decided to make a surprise. With the help of his father, he would fulfill his dream of taking her to Allianz Park for a match for the greatest national champion.

– She had a birthday the week before and we decided to add a birthday, Mother’s Day. It was my idea, I talked to my dad, he agreed. I called her and when I did, she would always ask, “What did you think of the last match?” I spoke to her a little bit and she said, “So it’s Red Bull[Bragantino]right? Are you coming here to watch it?”, and I said, “I’m not going because the three of us are going to the stadium.” Then I laughed at the phone. I said, “Why are you laughing? I’m serious,” and I laughed again. I said, “That’s right. You’ve already bought the ticket, and the three of us are going to watch it, and take you in a wheelchair.” She got scared and said: Are you kidding me or are you serious? I replied, “No, grandmother, I am serious. Is my father not there? Ask him if it is a joke.” Then I asked and my father confirmed it. I went crazy with joy. It felt like at the time it was a mixture of passion with a lot of anxiety.

– It’s game day. They passed here and we went to the stadium. We went early so we wouldn’t have a problem with it. We parked at Bourbon Mall and pushed the chair. We arrived without any problems. The place was hard to find, this wheelchair area is different. We got a little beat up about it, but we did. The intriguing thing is that the game was about to start, everyone was sitting in their seats, and when it was about to start, the people in Gol Sul got down and went to the grid, the glass. My grandmother in the chair couldn’t see anything. Then I thought: “Damn, it’s annoying, right? You won’t be able to watch the match.” But then the guys in the front opened up a space. But that space there can only see the straight line. That’s when Allianz security came, put everyone in their places, and provoked a quarrel into the crowd. In fact, the team was 100%, everyone treated her very well, helped us.

With the dribbling of the ball, I would encourage Palmeiras to score at least one goal in Goal Sol, because in the first row, seeing the goal from the other side is very complicated. You end up watching it on the big screen. We were lucky because three goals came in the first half, Dudu, the ball went in or not, Rooney eliminated and Danilo was eliminated. I told her, “He deserved one goal, but you saw three.” She was delighted, she had no idea how big the grass was. Once during the match she turned to me and said, “The stadium is so big that the players look small.” She was delighted, especially in Gol Sol.

– In the second half, when Palmeiras slowed down, they also witnessed most of the action head-on there. The goal, being a penalty kick, ended up not having to be seen on the big screen. During the break, it was nice to have a dodo look-alike, as I took a picture of him with her. She died laughing, she loved it.

(Photo: personal archive)

Then we wait for the stadium to be emptied. Today, when I went to talk to her, she called me to thank me and it was curious because she turned to me and said, “If you’re patient, next time you have a game you think we can go to, away from my new one, you see? Like me a lot.”

Under the eyes of more than 30,000 fans, including Leonor, Palmeiras left Allianz Parque with a 2-1 win against Emelec.

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