SANTIAGO – Without kicking a ball, Palestino suffered a miserable June and July during the Chilean premier division season break which accommodated the Copa América. The team lost three star players, Luis Jiménez, Julián Fernández, and Alejandro González. A breach of tournament rules also caused the team to be eliminated from the Copa Chile.
Luis Jiménez, 35, leaves Chile to return to the Middle East where he previously had successful spells at several teams in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Jiménez, who is of Palestinian descent, started his career at Palestino as a youth player before moving to Italy where he played for Ternana, Fiorentina, Lazio, and Inter Milan.
He resigned for Palestino at the start of the 2018 campaign and was an instant supporter’s favorite, not only for his Palestinian roots but also the way he became the lynchpin between the midfield and attack. His performances last season helped Palestino to win the Copa Chile and qualify for the Copa Libertadores.
According to coach Ivo Basay, there was an agreement in Jiménez’s contract which would allow him to leave in such circumstances. Jiménez himself described the emotion and joy that he felt to put on the red, white, and green shirt of Palestino again during the past season.
Fernández & González
Palestino will also have to play the second half of the season without influential midfielder Julián Fernández, who has moved back to Argentina to play for Newell’s Old Boys. He made 39 appearances for Palestino, which he initially joined on loan, scoring 3 goals during this time.
The third blow came for Palestino supporters when the club announced that Alejandro González had moved to Barcelona SC of Ecuador.
Two new players were introduced during the same period, but it is unlikely they will have the same impact as the three departing. Federico Castro, who is a striker, signed from Rivadavia Independent of Argentina and Federico Lanzillota, who is a goalkeeper, also arrives from Argentina.
In more bad news for Palestino, they were eliminated from the Copa Chile (the tournament the team won last season), for not fielding the required number of youth players. A rule of the Copa Chile is that teams must include at least two players born after June 1, 1999. In the first round tie against Santiago Morning, Palestino failed to do this. Even though Palestino won the match 4-3, they were subsequently reported to the footballing board by Santiago Morning and after a tribunal were eliminated.
Palestino currently occupy eighth place in the table, one spot below a Copa Sudamericana playoff position. They continue their campaign against Huachipato this weekend, following a thrilling 1-1 draw against U. Chile last weekend.
John is a volcanologist, sports fan, radio broadcaster, and accomplished musician. Born and raised in Britain, he has travelled extensively for his research on volcanoes. Whilst living in London, UK, John performed in the punk bands ‘And Now We’re Even’ and ‘Filthy Militia’ recording six studio albums and two EP’S over this time. He currently lives in Santiago, Chile where he works as a university professor in rock mechanics.