Real Mallorca coach Luis Garcia Plaza

Real Mallorca coach Luis Garcia Plaza.

13-03-2021MIQUEL A. BORRAS

After a week when I read “Please note that all Merseyside passenger train services between Lime Street and Walton will be suspended every Saturday and Sunday until further notice – This is due to a massive points failure at Anfield!” – table-topping Real Mallorca, unbeaten on the road, play Sporting Gijon, unbeaten at home, in their El Molinon stadium on Sunday at 4pm. We’ve played 13 games away, winning 9 and drawing 4, and have 60 points in total. Sporting lie in 5th place, 12 points behind us and drew 0-0 in the Son Moix last November. I’ll settle for another draw in what’s going to be a difficult game for the Palma side.

Mallorca suffered big time last weekend before finally overcoming Cartagena 2-1 and our coach Luis Garcia Plaza said at the pre-match virtual press conference on Friday that we have to calm down a bit. “I have seen a lot of euphoria with regard to the team’s position and performances. It’s logical this is happening but we have to calm down. I would understand all the delight if the teams behind us were far away but Espanyol and Almeria are breathing down our necks. It’s not easy to endure this situation and we have to keep going until the end. Sporting are a team I like very much and in the Son Moix game they came very close to beating us. They are a team who’ll make the game very difficult for us.”

LGP said Brian Olivan has recovered from injury but “Galarreta and Sedlar are still out.” Asked about players renewing contracts, he said Antonio Sanchez is still holding out or, in reality, he and his agent are waiting to see what division we’ll be in next season before putting pen to paper. Salva Sevilla and Abdon Prats are expected to renew next week, which still leaves the future of 16-year-old Luka Romero in doubt. The “pearl” of our academy, who last season became the youngest player in Spanish football history to make his debut in La Liga at 15 years 219 days, played his last game for the first XI in January. Since making his debut away at Real Madrid he’s now playing in the local third division. The coach said Luka is still very young and was put in the shop window too early. There are several players ahead of Luka in the pecking order and LGP said “I see him as a starter at 18.” Director of football Pablo Ortells is trying to get Luka to sign by offering guarantees that he’ll be an important player in a very short time. However, the news is that his renewal is neither “far nor near” so that deal could drag on into the Summer.

There was financial good news for the club this past week when it was announced that American owner Robert Sarver has completed and made official the capital increase of nine million euros that was announced last November by CEO Alfonso Diaz. With this new contribution, Sarver has put over 53 million euros into the club to meet our financial expectations. Sarver and his associates have been in charge now for five years and continue to be committed to carrying out what he said when he bought Real Mallorca, “We’re here for the long term.” It’s like a breath of fresh air in football to see a “smaller” club being looked after without any interference from the owners, and at long last we’re almost clear of all debts – pandemic permitting. Some of these bigger clubs are owned by venture capitalists who would sell their respective clubs or your granny down the road if there was a buck to be made.

On the subject of owners, a few characters in Real Mallorca’s history have spent up to three decades at the club, one of them is Andratx-born Mateu Alemany. In his long Mallorca history starting at 18 and finishing in 2010 at the age of 47, he’s been employee, president and owner and was in charge during our best days, signing Samuel Eto’o in 2001 for a pittance. We qualified for the Champions League and stayed up in La Liga on the last day of the season. His greatest achievement was being president when we won the Copa del Rey in 2003. He left in 2005, passing the baton over to Vicente Grande, then came back for a short time in 2009 when we started to lose money and were on the brink of going into liquidation. A couple of years ago he returned to football with a post at Valencia as general manager, which didn’t last long as the owners were in the process of buying and selling players behind his back. He’s now got one of the top jobs in world club football as Barcelona general manager in the second Laporta era. Mateu was a huge fans favourite at Real Mallorca taking on “legend” status. At Barcelona he’ll be in command and will be a lot more than an institutional representative of the team. He will help to rebuild the Catalan giants and set up Barça’s participation in the so-called European Super League. His commitment to Mallorca was fantastic. In 2004 Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez tried unsuccessfully to poach him and take Mateu to the Bernabeu. He rejected the offer of his life to stay in Palma. I wish him all the best in his new job.

PS Our leading scorer Amath Ndiaye (8 goals) has been fined 600€ by the authorities for displaying a political slogan (Free Senegal) on a T shirt after he scored the winning goal against Cartagena.

AND FINALLY, Mexican Maid: Maria, the Mexican maid, asked her employer’s wife for a pay rise. The wife wasn’t too happy at the maid’s request and asked for her reason. “Señora,” said the maid, “There are three reasons I wanna increeze. Numero uno, I iron the clozzes better than you do.” The wife answered “Who said you iron better than me?” Maria replied “Jor huzban, he say so.” The wife hissed, “Oh, yeah, is that right?” Maria continued “The segunda reason eez I cooka better than you.” The wife was getting stressed. “Nonsense, who said you were a better cook than me, my husband?” “Yes, señora, jor huzban tell me,” Maria confirmed. By now the wife was getting angry. “What is the third reason you want a pay rise, Maria?” she enquired. “Number three, señora, is I’m better at sex than you in ze bed.” The wife went ballistic “And, Maria, did my husband say that as well?” Maria smiled “Lo siento, señora, it was the gardener, Juan, he tell me!” The wife calmed down immediately, “So how much do you want?”

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