Real Mallorca's Mexican coach Aguirre. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


The logic in football makes us think that Sunday night’s game between Barcelona and RCD Mallorca at 9 pm in the Camp Nou is worse than a visit to the dentist!

However, Cadiz (0-1) and Rayo Vallecano (0-1) have shown the famous ground is not as intimidating to win in for so-called inferior teams as it has been over the past decade. The mighty Barcelona are in free fall as, for the first time EVER, they have lost three home games in a row in one season, including their Europa League exit at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Last Sunday night Rayo had three shots on goal, scored one, hit the post with their second and the third was saved (just) by Ter Stegen (and Cadiz could have scored at least another two). The Rayo game had 14 minutes added on at the end and even with four strikers, Barcelona couldn’t score. Rayo’s win was made all the more incredible by the fact that they were playing their second game in three days.

The big question now is will Barcelona get that «bouncebackability» effect and put us to the sword on Sunday night. With all last week’s games being completed, the relegation panorama has become clearer.

Three teams, Mallorca, Cadiz and Granada, will be the protagonists in a relegation dogfight with just five games left to play. Two sides, Levante and Alaves, below these three look to be doomed. We have to give our game against Barcelona our best shot after Cadiz and Rayo pulled off two consecutive major surprises.

These two minnow clubs made life very difficult for Barça coach Xavi Hernandez. The Andalusians and the Madrileñians opted for a four-man defence and it’s very likely our coach Javier Aguirre will start with a five-man back line. What Mallorca have to do is to play fearlessly in a ground where they haven’t won since 2008. I was at that 2-3 game. Barcelona went two up through Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o. In the second half our third-best coach (after Hector Cuper and Luis Aragones), Gregorio Manzano, brought on our diminutive midfield genius Ariel «Cano» Ibagaza and he laid on three goals in 25 minutes to see us gain a famous victory.

Real Mallorca’s countdown to staying in La Liga begins in earnest this weekend. We take to the pitch already knowing what our main opponents, Cadiz and Granada, have done. Cadiz play Sevilla on Friday night at the Sanchez Pizjuan and Granada host Celta Vigo just before we start. Sunday night is a heady mix of excitement and dread in equal measures.

Mallorca will be without the charismatic Muriqi who is suspended. He allegedly purposely got himself booked against Alaves, leaving him available for our «massive» season decider against Granada in Palma next Saturday, May 7, kick off at 2pm in Son Moix. Also Baba, who is on four yellow cards, may be spared for Sunday in order to play then. A full house is expected for that nerve jangler and cheap tickets (20€ - 30€) are now on sale.

Barcelona have debts of more than a billion euros and despite thrashing Real Madrid 0-4 a month ago are on the ropes. However, despite that, they remain favourites to win only because our away form is rubbish. We haven’t put a single point on our away tally since the beginning of December when we beat At. Madrid 1-2. Since then we’ve lost on the road to Granada, Levante, Villareal, Betis, Celta, Espanyol, Getafe and Elche.

Mexican coach Aguirre gave a press interview earlier in the week. He’s been at Mallorca for a month now and wants to work another miracle where he specialises in keeping struggling teams afloat, especially here at Mallorca who have been emitting worrying signs for some time. So far he’s managed to get us out of the relegation bottom three. He said Mallorca had been unlucky in a lot of their games, losing several by the odd goal. «The team played well,» he said, «we have hit the post, the bar, the referee’s decisions was wrong, one of our defenders slipped at a vital moment (Baba against Real Madrid) and there’ve been lots of fine details and there was no balance between how they played and what they received in return.»

Asked what he thought about the form of Take Kubo, he didn’t beat about the bush. «I spent a year coaching the Japanese national side, so I know a lot about their playing personality. Take (20) is still too young to be a leader. I think he lacks a bit of regularity, and needs to be more consistent in what he does. He’ll do a great piece of skill, then he disappears, he’ll reappear and does the same thing again. If he manages to maintain the top level for 90 minutes, he will be an important player.»

Quizzed as to whether Kubo and Kang In Lee can play together he said «Every week I see who is better and who is worse, and sometimes when both are playing well I have to make a decision – we are in an emergency situation and now is not the time to be having a debate.»

AND FINALLY, if you think YOUR life is complicated, spare a thought for Emmanuel Macron, the re-elected president of France. He’s 44 years old, his FIRST stepson is 47 years old, his SECOND stepson is 45 years old. His wife is 69 years old. Technically, he’s the last-born in his own family!