By Humphrey Carter
THE Balearics' and one of Spain's greatest footballers, defender Miguel Angel Nadal, yesterday retired from football.
Having played just six games for Real Mallorca this season, the 38-year-old former international and Barcelona star said yesterday “I always wanted to be honest with myself and to those who have had faith in me. “I finished a session earlier this season and wasn't happy with the way I was training. “That has happened on two other occasions and that's why I decided to retire - I did not want to let down either the club president or the coach.” Nadal, uncle of tennis player Rafael Nadal, won 62 caps for Spain and took part in three World Cups.

He has played 462 league games and scored 33 goals. Nadal began his career at Mallorca.
He joined Johan Cruyff's Barcelona in 1991 and went on to win five league titles, two King's Cups, the Cup Winners' Cup and the European Cup during eight seasons with the Catalans.

He returned to Mallorca in 1999 and helped the islanders to victory in the King's Cup in 2003. “Throughout my career I have had the good fortune to share the dressing room with some great players ... and to be liked by the fans,” said Nadal before receiving a round of applause from the Majorcan sports journalists.

Born just two days before the 1966 World Cup final, Nadal, as the true professional sportsman he is, managed to hold back his tears on what was clearly a very emotional day for him and the club. “I guess this is a sad day for Mallorca fans,” he admitted.
Nadal still has a small army of fans in Barcelona, ironically, he made his league debut for Mallorca against Barcelona at the Nou Camp on April 19, 1987.

He helped guide Mallorca back up to the first division in 1989 and, after playing for Mallorca in the 1991 King's Cup final, was signed by Johan Cruyff for Barcelona.

It was at the Nou Camp he enjoyed his best football picking up a host of national and international titles and also catching the eye of Spanish coach Javier Clemente.

He made his debut for Spain in 1991 against Czechoslovakia in Seville and went on to collect 63 caps and score three international goals.
Having won everything and after a year of being banished to the bench by new Barcelona coach Louis Van Gaal - he decided to return to his roots and Real Mallorca and in 2003 lifted the King's Cup for the third time. “There are cycles in life,” he said yesterday “mine is football and it's come to an end.” Nadal, who paid special tribute to Clemente and Cruyff for being the big footballing influences in his career, does however have his eyes set on another battle field, the political one after having recently become actively involved with the Partido Popular conservatives in his home town of Manacor.

Sunday is crucial warns cool Cuper

REAL Mallorca coach Hector Cuper admitted yesterday that he would have “no problem training in the second division.” Cuper's finger is starting to stray towards the panic button, but, for the time being, he is still confident Mallorca will beat Sociedad on Sunday.
He knows that if they do not, then the side's future in the top flight will be seriously complicated. “It's true, our results are not what the board had hoped for, They've been bad. “Not winning on Sunday will be a severe set back because it is then going to be very difficult to achieve our objectives,” the Argentine said yesterday. “But, we can't afford to worry too much because we'll go into the game in the wrong frame of mind, we can't start games in a panic and with self doubts. “We've shown we can win games, we've got to do just that on Sunday and I've got the feeling we will, without a doubt,” Cuper said.
With just 21 points to their name and seven points away from safety, Cuper claimed “we're not quite in it up to out neck, we can still breath.” Real Sociedad come to Palma enjoying something of a revival with star player Karpin having suddenly found second wind after a troubled season to date.
Cuper will be without the injured Iuliano and Farinós while there are doubts about García and Campano.
How Cuper is going to play the game remains a big secret, training sessions over the past few days have been behind closed doors.


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