After a week when in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is to invite a Taliban leadership group to Glasgow – to advise her on how to remove a foreign oppressive regime in a fortnight!! – Real Mallorca flew into Bilbao airport last night before travelling the 52 km to the Basque capital Vitoria-Gasteiz, where they’ll play Deportivo Alaves this evening in their Mendizorroza stadium, kick off 17:00.
The stadium is not a happy hunting ground for the Palma side but Alaves have been struggling to stay in La Liga over the past few seasons and were thrashed 1-4 by Real Madrid last weekend.
Alaves have three players in their squad with big Real Mallorca connections: Ximo Navarro and Tomas Pina spent several seasons here between 2008-13 and Toni Moya was raised in Son Servera and played on the island when he was 15.
After our 1-1 draw against Real Betis the general consensus of opinion from media and fans is that the result was fair, in a game that wasn’t for the football purist.
Mallorca won the first half containing any threat there was from the visitors.
After the break Betis got a foothold in the game without posing a threat.
Once again we gave a goal away to bad defending from a set piece, something Luis Garcia Plaza has been working to eradicate in training this week.
Our defence looked more than competent to repel the attacks Betis mustered and the midfield put in a sterling performance especially Iddrisu Baba who for some reason seems to play better in La Liga than he did last campaign in La Segunda.
Galarreta also provided a light in our offensive forays and Dani Rodriguez put in his usual tireless shift.
Up front we lacked a threat but in the suffocating heat and humidity and without a recognised No. 9 that was hardly surprising.
Our worst performer was Manolo Reina in goal who made the unusual mistake which gifted Betis their equaliser and after that went in he looked nervous and imprecise. I can’t comment on his understudy Dominik Greif because no-one’s seen him play but if Reina slips up again then the Slovakian international should be ready to step up.
The big news of the week was when Villareal and Real Mallorca closed the agreement for the transfer of 20-year-old striker Fer Niño on loan until the end of the season.
The 6ft centre forward is the son of Fernando Niño who played centre half for Mallorca for eight seasons making 189 appearances (1998-2006) and winning the Copa del Rey in 2003.
Fer was born in Palma in 2000 and comes to Palma as one of the great promises of Spanish football and who more than made a name for himself at Villareal last season.
He scored 8 goals in 28 games in all competitions (17 games in La Liga, 6 in the Europa League and 5 in the Copa del Rey) and now his ambition is to better these figures both in targets and minutes on the pitch.
He has no purchase order included in this loan deal and that’s a non-negotiable from his parent club.
A fast footballer with punch and a lot of mobility he expressed his joy at joining a team where his father became a legend and for returning to the place where he was born.
With his signing, our outlook is undoubtedly much more hopeful.
He’ll be given the shirt number 26 and could well play some part tonight before the Alaves coach Javier Calleja who promoted him to the first team when Calleja was Villareal manager.
Fer recently made headlines after a horror “scissor” tackle in a friendly for Villareal against Leicester City.
The English side’s Wesley Forfana was carried off with a broken leg.
The tackle was described as “nasty and too aggressive for a friendly game.”
Fer apologised on social media for the tackle but that fell on stony ground with “Fox’s” fans.
Fer doesn’t have a professional contract which means he’ll join third choice ’keeper Leo Roman and Mollejo as the three Under 23 players allowed.
With Alex Alegria out on loan at Burgos we have 24 professional players (we’re allowed 25) and it’s all hands to the pump to try and offload big-buck-earner Trajkovski.
If the North Macedonian internationalist can’t find a club before the transfer deadline at the end of the month then we have to register him as a squad member with very little chance of him playing any games.
If he goes, that would leave one more space to fill and it could go down to the wire.
Mallorca, along with Levante and Granada, are the only La Liga sides to start the season without a main shirt sponsor. However the club are confident that they’ll find a sponsor to take over from Betfred on the front of the jersey.
The club has priced its main sponsor between 1 and 1.2 million euros but is having difficulty finding companies that are willing to reach that figure due to the Covid crisis. Betting companies were banned from football advertising in Spain at the end of last season.
AND FINALLY, a few thoughts for the deranged mind : If a deaf person signs swear words does his mother wash his hands with soap?
If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?
What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant? Whose cruel idea was it for the word lisp to have an “s” in it? Why aren’t haemorrhoids called a***teroids? And can an atheist get insurance against acts of God?