Felipe Melo de Carvalho (born 26 June 1983) is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for the brazilian club Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, on loan from Internazionale.
Melo is a Brazilian international and played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He arrived in Europe in 2005 and has played for top division clubs like Juventus, Fiorentina, Almería, Racing de Santander and Mallorca. He also holds the Spanish nationality since the 2007–08 season, and thus was not consumed by the non-EU registration quota for new signings from abroad in Serie A. As of 2015, he is the most decorated Brazilian player in Turkish domestic competitions, winning seven cups, beating the record of his fellow countryman and ex-Galatasaray goalkeeper Cláudio Taffarel.
Melo began his career for Flamengo, where he made 69 appearances and scored no goals in his two-season spell with the club. Following impressive performances with Flamengo, Melo transferred to Cruzeiro in the summer of 2003, but would remain for just one season. In his single season with Cruzeiro, Melo managed to make 31 league appearances, scoring two goals. Following yet another impressive season in Brazil, he was sold to Grêmio.
Following his transfer to Grêmio, Melo managed to make an additional 19 appearances and adding three goals to his tally in his native Brazil. He would only remain in Porto Alegre for 2004, because Grêmio was relegated that year and the team was dismantled.
Following several impressive seasons in Brazil, Melo moved to Spain with Mallorca prior to the 2005–06 season. This transfer was short lived, however, as Melo made just eight appearances in six months with the club, before transferring permanently to Racing de Santander.
Racing de Santander
After joining Racing, Melo began to prove his worth again for the club. He would remain in Santander for two seasons, making nearly 50 appearances with five goals for the Spanish club.
In July 2007, Melo transferred to fellow La Liga club Almería. He was a regular in the clubs' starting XI and would make 34 league appearances with an impressive seven goals. An outstanding season led to the attraction of several European clubs, scouting the defensive midfielder, and in the summer of 2008, Melo transferred to the Italian Serie A to play for Fiorentina.
After a successful first season at Almería, Melo agreed to transfer to Italian side Fiorentina in a reported €13 million transfer for the 2008–09 season. This was confirmed after Almería's match against Recreativo de Huelva in La Liga. He made his debut in the first leg of the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League against Slavia Prague, and scored his first goal in a Viola shirt against Atalanta in the Serie A. After a very impressive debut season in the Serie A, which included 29 appearances and two goals, the Brazilian transferred to Juventus in Turin.
On 30 June 2009, following a lauded performance at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, Melo signed a new five-year contract with Fiorentina, with a release clause of €25 million. At this point, Arsenal was reportedly in negotiations to sign the player. Within days, however, Melo was the subject of a bid from Juventus. The two clubs eventually agreed a fee of €25 million in total and Juve's Marco Marchionni joined Fiorentina on 15 July 2009 for a tagged price of €4.5 million. Later, Cristiano Zanetti, tagged for €2 million, re-joined Fiorentina. This allowed Juve to pay Fiorentina €18.5 million in three instalments.
The first half of the 2009–10 season was one to forget despite a bright start to his Juve career. He scored his first Juve goal against top-of-the-table rivals Roma in a 3–1 win. In the December Derby d'Italia fixture at home, he was controversially sent off for a supposed elbow at Internazionale's Mario Balotelli. The incident sparked a fiery argument between his teammate Gianluigi Buffon and Inter midfielder Thiago Motta, and both had to be separated by Inter and Juve players. Melo was instrumental in his sides win over Milan at the San Siro in 2010–11 season, and was later voted man of the match.
On 22 July 2011, Melo joined Galatasaray in Turkey on a season-long loan deal for €1.5 million, with an option to transfer permanently at the end of the season for €13 million. He agreed on a contract with a net annual salary of €3.3 million plus a per-appearance bonus of €30,000, replacing departed Lorik Cana as the club'sn new central midfielder. He was attributed to the nickname "Pitbull" by the team supporters because of his passionate playing style, which also helped him become a fans favourite quickly; it is said that he displayed the mutual respect back with his tattoo of the club's mascot, a lion, on his arm. This is not true, however, because in his own statement, he states that this is a coincidence and that he got the tattoo due to the fact that in Brazil, a lion is a symbol for Jesus Christ.
Melo scored his first goal on 18 September 2011 from a 35-metre-long shot against Samsunspor. He scored 12 goals in 36 league matches, and at the end of the season, he was among the champion squad.
Melo had been expected to make a permanent move to Galatasaray, but on 24 July, transfer fee negotiations between the club and Juventus broke down due to the Turkish club requesting a lower fee for the player. On 14 August, the two clubs were able to agree another loan deal sending Melo to Turkey for the 2012–13 season, for €1.75 million, with the agreement including "the option, to be exercised by Galatasaray by 30 April 2013, for the permanent acquisition of the player for a price of €6.5 million". Melo also had a wage cut to €2.9 million with an appearances-based bonus of €25,000.
On 24 November, in a game between Galatasaray and Elazığspor in the Süper Lig, Melo saved a penalty after regular goalkeeper Fernando Muslera had committed a foul and been sent off and Galatasaray had already used all their substitutions.
On 20 July 2013, Melo made a permanent move to Galatasaray on a three-year contract worth €3.1 million plus bonuses, while the transfer fee was reduced to €3.75 million plus bonuses of a maximum €500,000, which the club activated. He made his 100th appearance for the club on 2 February 2014 in Süper Lig encounter against Bursaspor in a 6–0 home win.
On 13 August 2015, Melo signed a four-year contract extension; during the first season of said contract, the yearly salary remained unchanged at €3.1 million, but is set to be reduced to €2.6 million for next three seasons.
On 31 August 2015, Melo returned to Italy to sign with Internazionale on a 2-year contact and a €3.7 million transfer fee, plus €500,000 bonuses for each UEFA Champions League group stage qualification of the club, up to the 2017–18 season. He officially returned to Serie A play on 23 September 2015 against Hellas Verona, against which he also scored his first goal for Inter.
On 8 January 2017, Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras announced the signing of Melo in 3-year contract. On 12 January 2017 Inter announced that it was a loan until 30 June 2017, which his contract with Inter was set to expire on the same day.
Melo made his international debut for Brazil on 10 February 2009 against Italy in a friendly match, which Brazil won 2–0. He scored his first goal in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification over Peru. Brazil won 3–0. At the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, Melo scored the opening goal in a 3–0 victory over the United States, in the group stage. Melo started all five games at the competition as Brazil went on to win the trophy.
Melo was named in Brazil's final 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In Brazil's quarter final against the Netherlands in Port Elizabeth, Felipe Melo provided the assist for Robinho's tenth-minute opener, before Melo himself slightly touched a Wesley Sneijder cross, which at first was recorded as an own goal, but later credited to Sneijder. Sneijder then put the Dutch 2–1 ahead, before Melo was then sent off by referee Yuichi Nishimura in the 73rd minute for a violent stamp on Dutch winger Arjen Robben. On Brazil's return home after the World Cup, Melo took the brunt of the criticism of the fans as they threw insults, pushed and shoved towards the players.
Style of play
A quick, strong, tenacious, yet talented midfielder, Melo is known in particular for his hard-working, energetic, physical, and hard-tackling playing style, which has earned him the nicknames Pitbull and Gladiator, while in 2015 his Inter manager at the time, Roberto Mancini, described Melo and his team-mate Gary Medel as warriors. He is able to play as a central or box-to-box midfielder, but is usually deployed as a defensive midfielder, where his stamina, power, tactical intelligence, and ball-winning abilities aid him in breaking down opposing plays, while his good all-round skills, first touch, and passing allow him subsequently to distribute the ball to his more offensive-minded team-mates. In addition to his defensive attributes, he is also known for his dynamism and ability to make late runs into the area from midfield, which occasionally enables him to provide an additional attacking outlet to his teams. Throughout his career, Melo has stood out for his leadership on the pitch, although he has also equally been criticised for his aggression and tendency to pick up cards.
On 18 June 2013, through Twitter and Facebook, Melo offended Renato Maurício Prado, a pundit of Fox Sports channel. Among another names callings, Melo called Prado "coward", "arsehole" and "the cuckold most famous of sporting journalism".
On August 2013, after two months of incident, Prado went to court against Melo, asking reparation for offenses.
On 4 June 2014, Melo was on vacation with his family and friend in Las Vegas. Whilst enjoying dinner with his family and friends, a former football player and his friend attempted to humiliate Melo, who was sitting at nearby table, by a hand-written paper stating "Sampiyon Fenerbahçe – which means Champion Fenerbahçe". Fenerbahçe, the main opponent of Galatasaray, had finished as Turkish Süper Lig champions for the 2013–14 season, which had just concluded. Melo responded to the note by showing the two his middle finger and by kicking one of them. The case was taken to USA police.
Whilst playing for Inter, on 20 December 2015, Melo kicked Lazio midfielder Lucas Biglia's neck during the 89th minute of a Serie A match; he was sent off with a straight red card.
- As of 7 January 2017.
- As of 8 April 2012.
- Scores and results list Brazil's goal tally first.
|1.||1 April 2009||Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre, Brazil||Peru|| || ||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|2.||18 June 2009||Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria, South Africa||United States|| || ||2009 FIFA Confederations Cup|
- Campeonato Carioca (Rio de Janeiro State League): 2001
- Copa dos Campeões (Brazilian Champions Cup): 2001
- Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (Brazilian League): 2003
- Süper Lig: 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15
- Türkiye Kupası: 2013–14, 2014–15
- Süper Kupa: 2012, 2013, 2015
- FIFA Confederations Cup : 2009
- Sambafoot Brazilian Player of the Year: 2012, 2013 (Fourth Place)
Melo is married to Roberta and they have one daughter (Pietra) and three sons, Davi, Linyker (who he named after the English centre forward Gary Lineker), and Bernardo.