Meet Palmeiras’ newest Animal

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After the clash against Palmeiras, São Paulo defender André Dias hit out against opponent Kléber, back in Brazil after three years playing for Dinamo Kiev.

“The guy is in the wrong sport. I guess he should be a boxer. He isn’t playing football at all.”

Since in boxing fighters aren’t allowed to use their head, elbows or legs to hit the opponents, a late-night ultimate fighting competition would probably be more suitable for the 24-year-old Palmeiras forward.

In the nine games he has played so far in the Brazilian Championship, Kléber has received three red cards and four yellows, making him by far the most untamed athlete in the country.

Since Edmundo the 'Animal' departed from the Palestra Italia stadium late last year the bad boy parking spot has been empty, and Kléber has moved quickly to occupy the vacated spot.

Kléber (left) is consoled after yet another red card

In his very first match against São Paulo, in the São Paulo State Championship, Kléber stuck his elbow on the aforementioned André Dias’ eyelid.

The ref saw nothing, and Kléber went on to score a beauty before half-time.

Palmeiras won 4-1, the defender received seven stitches and the striker received a three-game ban. 

Predictably, he didn’t learn. A few days later, Kléber was sent off from practice by coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo after assaulting defender Mauricio. And, to top it, in the same week he was taken to a police station after hitting a São Paulo fan with his car just outside a disco.

According to the police report, a group of São Paulo supporters got mad with him after hearing Kléber tell his brother that “São Paulo fans are gay.” Some of them tried to stop the forward by standing in front of his car, but the Palmeiras ace didn’t think twice and pumped up the gas.

No wonder he has become a Palmeiras fan favorite!

André Dias: required seven stitches after clashing with Kléber

Kléber was a key part of the squad that won the State Championship after a 12-year draught, and has performed consistently well (when he’s not suspended).

Way before Edmundo, Palmeiras featured  Ã¢Â€ÂœCrazy” César Maluco, star of the 1970’s squad that won back-to-back Brazilian championships. And the former idol approves of Kléber’s wild behaviour. “I want Palmeiras to have 10 players like him.”

Since a wannabe heir of César Maluco and Edmundo couldn’t let a foe’s criticism pass by, Kléber retaliated against André Dias boxing quip.

“They talk too much. I get hammered every match but I don’t say anything, because that’s part of the game. What happened is that Alex Silva - André Dias' team-mate at São Paulo - complained that I stepped on his chest. It was a game thing. But his girlfriend got nervous and said these things. I guess it’s normal, isn’t it?”

Oh yeah, he's got a sharp mouth too...