28-year-old Kosovan international Vedat Muriqi | CARLOS GIL-ROIG

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After a week when the makers of Cluedo are now doing a swingers edition – Everyone did it – in all the rooms! – Real Mallorca, at 16:15 tomorrow afternoon in the Son Moix, have a MUST WIN game (of the season) against Cadiz, who are two points behind on 18 and are in the relegation bottom three. They had a Herculian cup match at Valencia on Wednesday and went out of the competition 2-1.

It’s expected that all three of our Winter signings in the January transfer window (or in our case the panic window) will start, but we’ll have another makeshift central defence with Russo suspended and Antonio Raillo not 100% after being out since August. With other relegation candidates Getafe/Levante playing on Friday night and Elche/Alaves kicking off tomorrow before us at 14:00, Mallorca know exactly what they have to do – WIN at all costs.

A big step to salvation is possible if we start the game gung-ho, all out from the get go. The truth is that Mallorca’s scoring records, victories and especially recent performances have set alarm bells ringing. Anchored on 20 points, we require a similar figure to seal the permanency deal. Although tomorrow’s game is NOT a final, it’s psychologically a match that could bring our mojo back and get us back on the path to recovery after four consecutive defeats.

Our three new signings all played in the cup match on Wednesday and the most interesting acquisition, 28-year-old Kosovan international Vedat Muriqi, looked good with what few chances came his way. On loan from Italian side Lazio, he’s been registered with La Liga as being Albanian as apparently Spain doesn’t recognise the status of Kosovo. Muriqi is the third centre forward to grace the hallowed Son Moix turf from Italian football. The first was Rolando Bianchi in 2015. He scored two goals in 16 games before his contract was rescinded.

The second was Ante Budimir who arrived from Crotone in 2019. He conjured up 13 goals before going on strike and leaving under a cloud for Osasuna, and becoming public enemy no. 1 with Mallorca fans. The Pamplona club still owe us nearly 10 million euros for his transfer.

Our other new signings are PSG third choice goalkeeper Sergio Rico and Uruguayan international Gio Gonzalez (16 caps). The right back has an Italian passport and his father played for At. Madrid in the ’90s.

RCD Mallorca out of the cup

We said “adios” to the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night when (in a game which saw a poor referee dish out 11 yellow cards) we lost 1-0 to Rayo Vallecano in the quarter finals. The result put the Madrid side through to their first semifinals in 40 years. A 44th minute penalty converted by ex Mallorca player Oscar Trejo was enough to see Rayo through but it was another schoolboy tackle from Franco Russo on Alvarez in the penalty area which saw our demise.

Following on from his nightmare scenario at Villareal two weeks ago (an own goal, giving away a penalty, and being sent off), Russo’s form has dipped alarmingly over the past few weeks. Like Fer Niño he had a good start but as soon as our results hit the buffers he’s been unable to recover his earlier form.

He’s gone from Segunda B to La Liga in a very short time and looks shaky at the back. His clumsy tackle to give away the winning penalty was absurd and unnecessary after a first half which saw a new system from coach Luis Garcia Plaza (4-4-2) and a much improved display. After 12 minutes Angel had the ball in the net but was well off-side.

Rayo, who have only lost once at home all season, didn’t have it all their own way, unlike when they beat us 3-1 earlier in the campaign. Despite making changes in the second half and Rayo hitting the post near the end, it was another disappointing outcome from the Palma side. We can now concentrate solely on the league without the added distraction of the Copa del Rey.

Mallorca’s director of football, Pablo Ortells, has been under fire for his dealings in the transfer market. We’ve now got a disjointed squad with four goalkeepers and five misfiring strikers. We’re short at centre back and have only one recognised winger in 19-year-old Binissalem-born Javi Llabres who started the season in the reserves. Ortells, in his defence, seemed happy in the work he’s done, saying we have enough players to do the job and that Muriqi was not his first choice nor was he the last. Fine words butter no parsnips and only time will tell if things have gone according to plan.

Two players who have left Mallorca are Jordi Mboula, who’s gone to Portuguese side Estoril, and Aleksandar Trajkovski, who’s had his contract rescinded and has gone to play in that hotbed of Middle Eastern football, Saudi Arabia!

PS Before tomorrow’s game, at 13:00 there’s going to be a “party” outside the Mallorcafé. Free paella, and beer at 1 euro, plus music. What’s not to like, eh?!

And finally

I was walking past a pet shop which had a sign in the window saying “Pedigree Netherlands cats for sale.” I couldn’t believe they were from the Netherlands, so I went in and asked the assistant: “How Dutch is that moggy in the window?!”