Cartoon of Real Mallorca coach Jagoba Arrasate. | M. PINTO


After a week when Kylie Minogue celebrated her 56th birthday with a new version of her 1988 hit The Locomotion – the chorus goes “So come on, come on, do the no promotion with Leeds”! – Real Mallorca players and staff are off on their holibobs and there will be no on-field activity until early July and no real games until the middle of August. Now it’s time for our director of football, Pablo Ortells, to mould a squad that will compete in La Liga 24/25 for a record fourth season. At the time of submitting this column (Wednesday evening) the club were expecting to confirm the signing of new coach, 46-year-old Jagoba Arrasate, on a three-year deal and he’s been seen out and about in the Soller area these past few days.

Mallorca will go down in history in the season just finished as a Jekyll and Hyde outfit, making a sensational journey to get to the Copa del Rey final in April and having a “nerve shredding” finish to their league season, where they won eight home games, drew 16 and lost 14. During last summer we lost two of our best players, Kang In Lee, who stepped up his career ladder by going to PSG, and Galarreta who went back home to Bilbao.

With the 22 million euros we got for Kang In Lee, we brought in local player Sergi Darder, born in Arta, who arrived for 10 million euros from Espanyol, and Canadian striker Cyle Larin from Valladolid. Both these guys struggled to make an impact and it’s taken Darder until the last few games to come up with the kind of form we expected from a player of his quality. Larin has only scored three goals (two of them from tap ins) all season and seems out of his depth in top flight Spanish football.

Things weren’t helped when club captain Antonio Raillo in our first home game injured ligaments in his left ankle, an injury that ruled him out for three months. With Raillo, a fundamental part of the team, missing, our defence were severely depleted. In November top striker Vedat Muriqi suffered a calf muscle tear playing for Kosovo and he missed two and a half months. When he did return, he simply wasn’t the same player and he lost his goalscoring prowess. Then the team and the fans were absorbed in our spectacular cup run and our league form dipped and we never regained any kind of form with goals from our forwards virtually drying up.

With modern football all about results, coach Javier Aguirre’s style left more detractors than defenders but the 65-year-old Mexican did meet his objetive of achieving permanence in La Liga. His tried and tested five at the back became boring to watch as the team struggled to get any consistency. Thanks to Cadiz, Mallorca managed to stay afloat in La Liga but Aguirre’s days were numbered and it was no surprise when news leaked out that his time in charge of RCD Mallorca was at an end and he wouldn’t be given a new contract. His swansong at Getafe last Sunday was a sad occasion as the players were gutted to see their “Mister” depart, and dedicated their two goals to him.

His replacement is ex Osasuna coach Jagoba Arrasate who spent six successful seasons in Pamplona. One Navarra journalist called Arrasate an affable, patient man who knows how to listen. One of the reasons Ortells brought him to Mallorca is Arrasate knows how he wants his team to play and is very keen to get the younger players from the academy involved with the first team squad.

Arrasate made his debut as coach on 2013 at Real Sociedad before moving on to Numancia for three seasons. But it’s with Osasuna that he made his name. In 2019 he took them on a 602 days unbeaten run. In 2023 he got them into a cup final, losing 2-1 to Real Madrid. In the domestic league Osasuna finished seventh and qualified for the Conference League, returning the club to European competition for the first time in 16 years.

It’s expected when the new coach gets started he’ll sort out who he wants and in what position. It’s a known fact we now need a left back with Jaume Costa leaving and two wide players (wingers). If Arrasate can do what he has done with Osasuna, then us Mallorquinistas will be more than happy as a new era at RCD Mallorca is about to begin.

Last weekend’s promotion by Valladolid represents an economic injection for Real Mallorca, who will receive around 2.5 million euros that were part of a loan deal taking Senegalese player Amath Ndiaye to the Nuevo Jose Zorilla in January. His time there has been fruitful, scoring five goals and two assists in nine appearances.


After a tiring day a commuter settled down in his seat (he was lucky to find one) and closed his eyes. As the train pulled out of the station, a woman sitting next to him pulled out her mobile phone. She started talking in a loud voice (don’t they all?), “Hi babes, it’s Sue. I’m on the train. Yes, I know it’s 6:30 and not 4:30 but I had a long meeting. No, sweetcheeks, not with that Kevin from the accounting office. It was with the boss. No babes, you’re the only one in my life. Yes, I’m sure, cross my heart!” Fifteen minutes later she was still giving it large and talking loudly on her phone. The man sitting next to her had had enough. He leaned over and said into her phone “Sue, get off your phone and come back to bed!” Sue doesn’t use her mobile phone in public any more!