Mallorca's Croatian striker, Ante Budimir (L)

Mallorca's Croatian striker, Ante Budimir (L).

24-07-2019Pellicer

Real Mallorca easily won their second pre-season game when they beat Playas de Calvia in the Son Bibiloni training complex on Wednesday night behind closed doors. Goals by Ante Budimir (34 mins), Pablo Chavarria (40) and man-of-the-match Dani Rodriguez (44) in the first half meant Real Mallorca totally dominated proceedings. However the visitors, to their credit, did win a corner kick near the end!

Mallorca took the lead after an error by the Playas goalkeeper Tolo, with the Croatian Budimir nodding in the spillage. A cross from Baba was turned in by Chavarria, giving him his second goal in two games, then Dani Rodriguez turned on the artistry to score a brilliant individual effort. This game was played in over 30º meaning there were two hydration breaks.

Coach Vicente Moreno made a shed full of changes after half time and with the introduction of Salva Sevilla, Mallorca dictated the play. Several B team players made an appearance, with Moyita being the stand-out youngster. Next up for Mallorca, which takes place in the same venue on Sunday at 8 pm, sees Poblense (Sa Pobla) as the visitors. That game will close the first part of the club’s local pre-season as they head for a training camp in Marbella, when fixtures against Malaga, Valladolid and Getafe will prove much more difficult.

For Sunday’s game, 850 fans who’ve already renewed their season tickets will be given free entry (otherwise it’s 10€), limited to one per person. Tickets can be collected from the Son Moix club shop.


Marco Asensio injured

Mallorquinistas were shocked to hear about the cruciate ligament injury sustained by one of their favourite and famous sons, Marco Asensio, in an irrelevant friendly against Arsenal in Landover, Maryland on Tuesday night played on a baseball/American football field. The FedEx playing surface has the highest injury rate in the NFL. The ex Real Mallorca Academy protege was only on the pitch for 20 minutes, playing for Real Madrid, when he laid on the first goal for Gareth Bale and scored the second himself. He then went down after an innocuous coming together, appearing to get his boot caught in the turf, and was stretchered off in obvious pain. Marco had an indifferent season just finished and was looking to regain the form that made him one of the best young Spanish hot properties for years.

His long-term injury brings into focus the point of all these pre-season friendlies played in America and the Far East. The vast fan base in China, Japan and Thailand is a huge cash cow for the clubs. Besides the time differences, bad pitches and the occasional hurricane/monsoon, it’s injuries that are the biggest worry as teams like Real Madrid found out to their cost. Marco received a footballer’s most-feared injury, meaning he’ll be out of action for at least eight months. He returned to Madrid yesterday for an operation and received hundreds of goodwill messages on social media, including one from Real Mallorca. Marco’s season is over before it even got started and he will likely miss Spain’s participation in next Summer’s European Championships. One person who knows all about these injuries is Villareal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo, he’s suffered serious ligament damage four times, two on each knee.

If these top players want to earn salaries upwards of six figures a week, trips to faraway footballing outposts help to pay their wages. But at what cost? Escalating transfer prices must be matched by even higher revenues where clubs happily bet the health and future of their players for a few dollars more.

One anecdote about Marco goes back to September 2014. A gang of us went to see Mallorca play Osasuna at their El Sadar ground in Pamplona. In a never-to-be-forgotten game, Mallorca lost 6-4 after being 3-1 up at half time. Marco scored one of our goals from a brilliant free kick, then went to celebrate with the home fans! Osasuna’s colours are similar to ours, red and black – he’d gone to the wrong side of the ground before realising, too late, that we were all sitting on the other side – oops! Animo Marco!