After a weekwhen I read on Friday “Telling your suitcase there will be no holiday this year can be tough – emotional baggage is the worst!” – Real Mallorca reportedly found a solution to the situation regarding the imminent departure of Vicente Moreno to take over as coach of Espanyol in a three-year deal. An agreement was reached on Thursday night which meant his termination clause was reduced by 50%, when club president Andy Kohlberg gave Moreno’s agents Promosport a series of conditions that have not been disclosed. Moreno is one of the most valued coaches at the moment and many fans are not happy with the way he is leaving, and going to a club which could well be a direct rival for promotion.
Moreno’s decision has caused deep discomfort to the American owners, especially Andy Kohlberg who flew back to Arizona on Friday. The owners were angry that Moreno has unilaterally broken his contract that expires in 2022. Last year he managed to extend that contract but has become disillusioned, wanting a new challenge. This situation came at the worst possible time as we rebuild the team in the second division. The owners wanted this thorny issue done and dusted before Kohlberg left the island. Mallorca must now find a replacement, with ex Levante and Getafe boss, Madrid-born Luis Garcia Plaza, the bookies favourite to take over the coaching hot seat, but there are several other candidates.
I went along to the Son Moix VIP lounge on Thursday, along with Billy Morris from Peña Son Flo and 20 heads of various other peñas on the island, to meet up with the new CEO, Alfonso Diaz, Roman Albarran from the club offices and president Andy Kohlberg. We didn’t really learn anything we hadn’t heard before but the peña people all seemed pleased with what Kohlberg had to say. Various questions were put to him (although we were told there would be no news on Moreno’s departure) and he looked a cool customer handling all sorts of questions with sound and diplomatic answers.
The players are due back in about two weeks’ time when we can expect a lot of comings and goings as new technical director Pablo Ortells gets down to some serious work. One player who sadly won’t be here next season is Japanese youngster Takefusa Kubo, who had a sensational time here on loan from Real Madrid.
His future with the new La Liga champions remains unclear, not least because of his nationality. Spain’s biggest selling sports paper, Marca, reported on Friday that Kubo could take up a non-EU spot in Zinedine Zidane’s squad if he were to stay with the first team squad next campaign. Real Madrid are only allowed three non EU players in their squad at any one time with Kubo being one of the top priorities at the moment. Players from, say, South American countries (who still class Spain as the mother country) can obtain Spanish passports fairly quickly in order to free up these spots, but it’s not so easy for Kubo. Japanese law doesn’t allow for duel citizenship, meaning he would have to choose between his Japanese passport and a Spanish one. If he wants a Spanish one, Kubo must legally have lived in Spain for 10 years but of course this period can be made shorter under certain circumstances. It looks unlikely he’d forfeit his Japanese passport as he then will have to decide which club he’ll move to next – on loan. He made a huge and lasting impression for us last season and there’s now a cornucopia of clubs after his services in September.
Real Madrid would now want him to stay in Spain and go out on loan to a team higher up the league and have participation in European competition. His likely destination will be either Villareal, Getafe, Granada or Real Sociedad. The Txuri-Urdin would appear to be hot favourites although an outside bet could be on Real Betis. With new coach Manuel Pellegrini’s projected style of play, Kubo could feel right at home in Seville. Whoever is lucky enough to get Kubo, the formula will be the same.
The club who take him will be in charge of paying his wages as well as paying Real Madrid a loan fee said to be around two million euros.
In the English Premier league with no fans in the grounds and no background noises, TV broadcasts have picked up all the expletives from the players and coaching staff and some of the fruity language makes for better viewing than the game itself.
The other night I watched an incident-packed (in both technical areas) game between Liverpool and Chelsea. It saw their boss Frank Lampard throw a real wobbler. He wasn’t happy when Liverpool were awarded a dubious free kick which led to them scoring. Lampard was clearly heard to say “How is that a foul? There’s no foul!” Liverpool boss “Clippety” Klopp repeatedly told Lampard to calm down. The Chelsea boss responded by telling Herr Klopp to go forth and multiply!
Meanwhile Klopp’s assistant got involved but Frank by now had lost it, he told the Reds No. 2 to do one and shut the eff up. In Spain a referee will send a player off for shouting obscenities in his or his assistant’s faces. Not so in England.
The other night I watched a bit of Arsenal/Aston Villa before Morpheus kicked in. The Arsenal player David Luiz (who’s Brazilian) could clearly be overheard shouting in the linesman’s face “I touched the f***ing ball.” No action was taken by the officials. Routine abuse of match officials in England should not go unpunished.
Sign in a Leeds shop on mask-up Friday: “If you come into our shop without a mask, we will have to take your temperature. Be warned we only have rectal thermometers – choose wisely!!”