Mallorca in training for big game against Real Madrid. | Archives


After a week when Russ Cook from West Sussex completed his 360th marathon in 240 days across Africa – the locals still whinge about having to walk a mile to fill up a bucket of water! – Real Mallorca returned to training on Tuesday after losing the Copa del Rey final in Seville last Saturday night 4-2 on penalties against Athletic Club after the game finished 1-1 AET.

A defeated but proud Mallorca have to turn the page and prepare for their next game which is a case of “out of the frying pan into the fire” against league champions-elect Real Madrid tomorrow, Saturday, at 6.30pm in the Son Moix. Staying in the league now becomes our main objective as the team faces a tough schedule. The Palma side, in 15th place on 35 points, are six above the relegation zone with eight games left to play.

It remains to be seen how many of the Mallorca squad will be available for selection tomorrow with Valjent, Copete, Dani Rodriguez and Lato suffering muscle problems in the (Copa) final. Mallorca go into the game with the second lowest scoring attack in La Liga (after Las Palmas). Muriqi (5), Abdon (5) and Larin (2) have contributed a measly 12 goals.

However it’s not just us who are finding goalscoring a problem, Spanish strikers in general are struggling to bulge the net. Leading the goalscoring list (Pichichi) is Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham and Girona’s Ukrainian hit-man Dovbyic with 16 each. Bellingham seems to have lost his sparkle and has quickly learnt all about the dark arts of Spanish football, e.g. berating the referee after every tackle and feigning injury, then having more rolls than Greggs!

Mallorca’s attacking power this season has been well below par and if it wasn’t for defenders scoring match-winning goals recently we’d be in big trouble. The injury to Muriqi a few months ago saw him miss nine weeks (he scored 15 goals last year). Abdon hasn’t had enough game time to be a prolific scorer this season and Larin – well, words fail me!! The Canadian’s two La Liga goals represent a poor return for the 8 million euros we bought him for from Valladolid last Summer. He’s had a long succession of chances that one after another he’s wasted. Let’s hope these three forwards will try in the final few weeks of the season to improve their own statistics.

Of course a lot of this is to do with the defensive tactics designed by coach Javier Aguirre. His future is uncertain and won’t be decided until Real Mallorca are mathematically safe in La Liga for another season.

Real Madrid come to Palma sandwiched between two Champions League quarter final ties against Man. City and I’m sure their coach Ancelotti will be resting a few stars with an eye on their second leg in the Etihad on Wednesday. Mallorca beat “Los Blancos” 1-0 last season in the Son Moix, so I see no reason why they can’t do it again, although it won’t be easy. Madrid have so much strength, pace and quality in every department. Mallorca were desperately unlucky to lose the Cup final on penalties after giving a master class of defensive organisation, finally succumbing in the most dramatic and painful way. As in 1998, we saw our Cup-winning options slip away from 11 metres and most Mallorquinistas hope it won’t be another two decades before we reach our next final. The team put on a display that for most fans will remain in the memory for a long time.

As you’d expect with over 20,000 fans travelling to Seville there were logistical problems, including flight cancellations and ferries that didn’t have enough seating for fans who had to make do with sleeping on the floor. Over 100 arrived back in Palma port on Monday after 50 hours travelling time (round trip).

Images of the 56,000 crowd at La Cartuja showed there to be a lot more Bilbao colours on display than ours. Friends of mine who went to the game said there were no ID checks at the turnstiles and it appeared that many Mallorca fans had sold their tickets to Bilbao supporters. The club has said that any Mallorca fans found to have resold their “entrada” will not be allowed to renew their season tickets in the Summer.

Local fans are looking for answers as to why tickets from the Spanish FA ended up in Basque hands and local fans couldn’t buy tickets for groups of six or more people, yet there were many Bilbao fans sitting together in our part of the stand. Mallorca fans demand answers.

The excitement for the final was tremendous and I was pleased to see an increasingly younger fan base supporting Real Mallorca in Seville. Maybe by the time they get to my age, they will be able to equal what I have experienced: three cup finals, a last-ever European Cup Winners Cup Final, a Spanish Super Cup (which Mallorca will be in next January in Saudi Arabia) and European competitions where we beat Arsenal and Chelsea.


Everton were deducted two more points for a profitability breach, while Man. City escaped punishment thanks to a totally legitimate 200 million-pound sponsorship deal for Jack Grealish’s Alice band!!