Dani Rodriguez in action on Wednesday. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

After a week when England manager Gareth Southgate was discussing team tactics for tomorrow’s game against France – he said “If you advance up the pitch in small rubber boats, the French won’t try and stop you!” – Real Mallorca easily won their first of three friendlies before the La Liga season restarts on Friday December 30 away at Getafe. Our first home game after the Christmas break is against Valladolid on Saturday January 7 at 18:30.

Wednesday night’s friendly in a freezing Inca saw goals from Muriqi (two in two minutes), Kadewere, Angel and Abdon Prats on his 30th birthday. Next up it’s German Bundesliga side Mainz 05 tomorrow (Saturday) in Son Bibiloni at 12:30, then another game against Italian team Bologna on December 14 at 18:00. On the 20th we face a tricky Copa del Rey tie away in the Basque country against Real Union.

ADURIZ JOINS SCOUTING STAFF

Mallorca goalscoring legend Aritz Aduriz has joined the sports management team of Real Mallorca led by technical director Pablo Ortells. 41-year-old San Sebastian-born Aduriz was a player here between 2008/10 and was capped 13 times during his career. He’s always had a close link with the island and indeed now lives in Palma with his family after retiring in May 2020.

The striker scored 23 goals in his spell here and his transfer to Valencia in 2010 was marked by Mallorca’s financial problems. They prevented Mallorca being able to pay At. Bilbao the money owed to them for his transfer, and that debt was later settled by our American owners in 2017. Bringing him here from Bilbao in 2008 wasn’t without controversy as Mallorca had been declared bankrupt and in the end were unable to pay the transfer in full and a large chunk of his wages.

Aduriz is best known for his second spell in Bilbao where despite “getting on a bit” he became more clinical in front of goal than ever. He had to have both hips replaced so was forced to retire. Aduriz is now an avid golfer and can be seen regularly in the Son Moix stand at home games.

Sporting director Pablo Ortells has been responsible for bringing in good players like Muriqi, Kang In Lee and Maffeo and Aduriz’s appointment has been welcomed by Mallorquinistas.

TOOTHLESS SPAIN

Being an avid Spanish football fan, I was so disappointed when they crashed out of the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday night. Seven goals and six different scorers against an ageing Costa Rica in an earlier round should have been proof in itself that whichever line-up coach Luis Enrique picked, they would prove to be an insurmountable object.

Their exit was as predictable as it was disappointing after their 3-0 defeat on penalties. They made 1,050 passes against Morocco, had 67% possession and only one shot on target. Under coach Luis Enrique they persisted in playing outdated “tippy-tappy” football going sideways and backwards more often than forward. All the possession in the world isn’t worth much if there isn’t at least a shot on goal at the end.

When Spain did get a sniff of a goal, they were poor in the final third and desperately need a striker like Vedat Muriqi of Real Mallorca. His aggressive style and movement in the penalty box would have put the game out of sight for Spain long before the half time whistle. Unfortunately for Spain, Muriqi is Kosovan so he doesn’t count !

Morocco produced a master class in closing down every attack and youngsters like Pedri and Gavi were nowhere to be seen. Spain have now lost three out of four World Cup penalty shoot-outs and have failed to advance in five of the seven games that went into extra time. They also haven’t reached the quarter finals since the year they won it in South Africa in 2010.

There’s no doubt in my opinion that Spain are one of the most frustrating football teams I’ve ever seen, they always try to walk the ball into the net. But their biggest problem is the lack of a No. 9, a proven goalscorer, all this false No. 9 is rubbish. They haven’t had a proper striker since David Villa and top Spanish goalscorers in La Liga like Iago Aspas, Borja Iglesias or even Gerard Moreno should have been in the squad.

Luis Enrique has now gone. When he was given the job the RFEF had to decide whether they wanted a coach (a) who would pick the best of La Liga players and play the way they do for their clubs, or (b) choose the players that serve the ideas of the coach. The Federation decided on the second option.

Luis Enrique did all right in the European games but the step up to the world stage has turned into a disaster. For a country that has one of the best sporting structures on the planet the failure in this World Cup is a real kick in the teeth. Learning to take penalties would also help their cause.

AND FINALLY, a man is walking down his local high street when he passes a shop window that’s full of beautiful flowers, so he decides to go inside and buy some roses for his wife. He asks the assistant “Please can I have a bunch of red roses for the wife ?” The assistant replies “I’m very sorry, Sir, we’re not actually a flower shop, this is in fact a male circumcision clinic.” The man answers “Really ? So why do you have all these lovely flowers in the window ?” The assistant asks him “Well, what do you expect us to put in the window ?”