Takefusa Kubo

Kubo, Mallorca's Japanese "Messi" in action for Japan on Wednesday.

05-09-2019REUTERS

After a week when I was talking to a Jamaica-born “Rasta boy,” he told me he used to play the triangle in a reggae band – but gave it up as it was just one ting after another! – Real Mallorca have the weekend off as it’s international break time.

Their next home game is on Friday the 13th when they face second top Athletic Bilbao in the Son Moix – kick off is at 9 pm.

This will be match four in the 2019/20 La Liga campaign and after three games Mallorca lie in 14th place with three points.

During the week, I’ve listened to and read on UK social media sites most of the Spanish La Liga reports from last weekend.

Every one of them praised Real Mallorca for their brilliant first half performance then berated them for two silly defensive errors that gave Valencia all three points from two penalties.

It’s going to take time for coach Vicente Moreno to establish what’s his best starting XI from the 27 players at his disposal. Out of these we have four Africans, five (non-Spanish) Europeans, two South Americans and one Asian.

We have two players available for every position (and three goalkeepers). With the squad having a real United Nations look about it, it’s good to see there are four Majorcan-born players in the mix – Joan Sastre, Xisco Campos, Abdon Prats and Miquel Parera.

The Mallorcasports website ran a poll last week when the question was “Are the players brought in good enough to keep the team in La Liga?” 81% said “yes they are” – pretty convincing.

With all these non-EU players arriving, how does the club get round the “foreigner” ruling.
According to what I can understand, in La Liga each club is allowed five non-EU players but can only name three in each match day squad. While the term “non-EU” refers to a player whose country of citizenship is outside the European Union, non-EU players can, after five years of playing in Spain, claim Spanish citizenship. Also, players can claim citizenship of a nation which their ancestors are from.

Another way around the regulations was seen in the case of Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho, who was able to be granted Portuguese citizenship through his wife after he left Liverpool for Barcelona in January 2018.

Since Coutinho had been married to his Portuguese wife for more than two years, he was able to meet the criteria to apply for Portuguese documentation to play in the Spanish league.

Now it gets even more complicated, as players who hail from, say, African nations (we have four) that are signatories to the Cotonou agreement are not considered as non-Europeans due to the Kolpak ruling (keep up!).

Players from South America get Spanish status after two years playing in a Spanish division. Our Japanese wonder kid Kubo has been registered with the B team. Under La Liga rules, Under 23 players, or Under 25 players with a professional contract, can switch between senior and reserve teams.

An interesting story surrounds one of our new signings, 20-year-old Cucho Hernandez.
His parent club are Watford but he’s been on loan recently at Huesca. Unfortunately he’s getting over complicated hamstring surgery and doesn’t look like he’ll be available for selection until at least the end of the year. Our general manager has brokered a deal which sees Watford pay his salary until he’s fit to start for us, then we will have to pay.

Kubo dazzled on the right wing for Japan on Wednesday when he came on as a second half substitute in a friendly against Paraguay.

Their defenders couldn’t stop him and time after time resorted to hacking him down to limit the damage he was causing. Fortunately none of their “agricultural” tackles injured the 18-year-old “Japanese Messi.”

On Tuesday he’ll play in a World Cup qualifier against Myanmar (Burma in old money) and it’s touch and go if he’ll be available for Friday night’s game.

A delegation from Mallorca was in Japan last week to seek sponsorship deals during Kubo’s time on the island. This past week alone on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, 160,000 hits had been registered with regard to Kubo coming here.

Our goalkeeper Manolo Reina was called to appear on Friday in a match-rigging trial taking place in Valencia.

The match in question was between Levante and Zaragoza in 2010/11. Reina was on the bench for Levante and took no part in the game.

At the end of 2010/11, Levante played Zaragoza in a survival decider. Zaragoza won 2-1 which kept them up.

The result triggered an investigation over suspect payments to players and coaches.
Zaragoza allegedly deposited 965,000 euros in bank accounts for players/coaches so that they in turn could bribe Levante players to deliberately lose.

The judge has now decided defendants should not be present at the entire trial, but must turn up on the day they are cited, meaning they only know on the afternoon before they are called. As long as he’s not called again, Reina should play against Bilbao.

Even if anybody’s found guilty, it’s unlikely they’ll be banged up. Sentences of two years or less for first time offences are often suspended in Spain.

PS Fan’s View will be back on FRIDAY.

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